Very few bands embody the post-grunge depression of the ‘90s like Oasis. With a knack for songwriting like The Beatles with more washed over, angsty guitar licks, the group draped a weighted blanket over the souls of those watching grunge slowly die. The band was led by two brothers — Liam Gallagher as the lead vocalist and Noel Gallagher as the lead guitarist and principal songwriter. Liam Gallagher contributed some songs to Oasis on the albums following the year 2000, but for the most part left the hit-making to his brother.
When comparing the two artists’ solo work up to this point, Noel seems to have spent his time pushing the limits of his songwriting ability with his new band, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. It’s undeniable that the Flying Birds’ most recent single, “Black Star Dancing,” is a totally untouchable dance-funk track, while “Holy Mountain” could be a bustin’ Tom Jones latter-day hit.
Liam Gallagher’s music, on the other hand, has been a filtered-and-refiltered version of what Noel was writing for Oasis in the 90s.
It’s not necessarily formulaic, just a little stale when looking at the grander scheme of musical creation across his career. His debut solo record, 2017’s “As You Were,” was a pretty loaded selection of relatively entertaining pop-rock tracks behind the veil of a nearly FIDLAR-esque, blasted-out-of-distortion production style. It’s not a bad album, but one that shouldn’t be too hard to top.
On Friday, Sept. 20, Liam Gallagher released the sophomore album in his solo discography, “Why Me? Why Not.,” an album representing a more boisterous, optimistic attitude for Liam Gallagher. The album has cohesion, primarily through its organic, echoey mix which provides an atmosphere of open-air. Many tracks even feel like they’re calling out to the open plains of the American Midwest with trashy, washboard-like guitar, harmonica and twangy, sticky vocal articulation.
No track fits these descriptors quite like the track “Be Still.” The track’s slappy drums hearken in the direction of Patrick Carney of The Black Keys and boasts shakey guitar that feels like it should be erupting from Muddy Waters’ childhood bedroom. Liam Gallagher’s vocals particularly lay into an oddly British drawl.
“My mama said, ‘Keep moving/Though you're down, you're gonna rise again/Come on, darling, don't get in your head/You know you know the wheel's still in spin.’” The way Liam Gallagher announces “again” and “head” would be familiar to anyone who lives in Nebraska.
Some tremolo guitar sneaks spaghetti western vibes in on the track “Gone.” Some large gong-like bells even toll in the background to add to the effect. It’s the musical version of AC/DC just hanging out as a bunch of normal guys in the Australian outback in the bed of a truck.
The track “Halo” calls back to early American rock ‘n’ roll as pounding, Jerry Lee Lewis-inspired acoustic piano counts the time through Liam Gallagher’s repetitious recitation of “around the sun.” It’s a testament to the pretty boring lyricism on “Why Me? Why Not.”
“Why Me? Why Not.” might not be the crowning achievement of Liam Gallagher, his brother or any other band, but it still totally rocks at moments and has consistent quality throughout the tracklisting. However, odds are the album will remain a deep cut in relation to the other records in the Liam/Noel/Oasis legacy.