By Justin Cudahy, Columns Editor
[Warner Bros.; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Wall of Glass”, “Greedy Soul”, “For What It’s Worth”
There is no one more polarizing and shameless in the music industry as Liam Gallagher. At one point, he was on top of the world, dominating the Britpop scene in the 90s alongside his equally loud-mouthed brother, Noel with Oasis before finally splitting up for good in 2009. Since then, Liam explicitly stated that he had no plans to go solo, so what was next for the ex-frontman was left up in the air. However, being the walking paradox that he is, it seemed like there was a change of heart as less than two years later, he would release his debut solo LP, As You Were.
The self-proclaimed “best songwriter in the world” has writing credits on half of the record’s 12 tracks, with the other half coming from collaborations with some of today’s most popular songwriters and producers, including Greg Kurstin, who has worked with artists such as Adele, Pink and Foo Fighters. As You Were’s opening track and lead single, “Wall of Glass”, has five total writing credits, yet it also happens to be the album’s best song. Its bluesy, raw instrumental and catchy riffs, mixed with Gallagher’s distinct and iconic vocals, sets itself up to be a great track that sets the bar high for the rest of the album.
Going on from the opener, the album paces itself very steadily, making sure listeners won’t be bored by the end. While the first three tracks are a more “in-your-face” style, with intense choruses and building instrumentals including electric guitar and heavy basses, the following two tracks represent Beatles-esque ballads, switching to a more acoustic set. The composition and melodies in “Paper Crown” sounds like something David Bowie would have put out during the Ziggy Stardust era, making this song feel more like a tribute. Regardless, it is still a beautiful song.
During the LP’s slower tracks, Gallagher puts aside his ego and gets personal, referencing his tough childhood, recent divorce, Oasis, and his brother Noel. “For What It’s Worth” best exemplifies all of this, with Liam asserting himself, “I’m a dreamer by design / and I know in time we’ll put this behind”. He also goes on to complain, “I’ve been crucified for just being alive”, which, as compelling as both lines may be, is a bit hard to accept seeing as Gallagher was notorious for instigating fights with everyone who wasn’t him. Just last week, he referred to his brother as a “potato,” which makes lines that were previously mentioned laughable.
While the album does remain consistent throughout, the last few tracks evidently runs out of steam in its presentation, leaving less of an impact as compared to the first few tracks on the LP. The album’s closing track, “I’ve All I Need”, reminds listeners once more how he isn’t looking back on past, except here he includes a bunch of Beatles references with a chorus that sounds eerily like Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida”, another band he’s insulted in the past.
As You Were is the best post-Oasis album to come out from either of the Gallagher brothers so far. With Noel Gallagher’s own album coming out less than a month away, it’s clear to assume that neither of them are thinking about a reunion, if at all. Despite all of that, Liam doesn’t need to worry about that, knowing he’s proved to people he’s more than capable of pursuing a solo career.