Return of the Rock N Roll Star: “As You Were” by Liam Gallagher
Liam Gallagher is back with more style, grit and attitude than ever before. Oasis is one of my favourite bands and with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds already on their third album, it was about time that Liam Gallagher showed the world that he can also be a serious solo artist. With help from awesome rock and pop producers such as Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt, “As You Were” is polished, multi-faceted and yes, can certainly knock your socks off. The album’s lyrics have also proved to probably be his most insightful and philosophical yet. “As You Were” truly encompasses the attitude, philosophy and sheer brilliance of Liam Gallagher the solo artist. At times, it also presents itself as a beautiful throwback and tribute to the sound of the 60’s. As much as he’d like to fully maintain the strictly “Rock N Roll Star” persona he is so proud of, “As You Were” simultaneously proves he is that and so much more.
The album begins with “Wall of Glass”, a song that encapsulates the characteristics we associate with Liam: attitude, grit and the strong sound of percussion and guitar we fondly remember from the days of Oasis. Released on the 1st June, Wall of Glass was the first musical glimpse we got of Liam for years, and he certainly came back like he was revving in a gleaming Ferrari. What is so good about this song is that it reminds us of Oasis, yet is just different enough to firmly fit in the current makeup of the music scene. Moreover, the music video is just as gritty, aggressive and disorientating as the music. If you like “Wall of Glass”, I would also recommend “Come Back To Me” – which has some awesome guitar riffs – and the brazen “Bold.”
One thing that Liam Gallagher and those behind “As You Were” manage so beautifully is the blending of modern grit and rock with the legendary sound of the 60’s (which Liam adores). In other words, Liam’s music has never been more personal and representative of his own skill and passions. “Chinatown” is mellow, melodic and very representative of Liam Gallagher’s love for The Beatles. The blend of the echo effects on the voice and melodic guitar reflect the sentiments of the lyrics, which are in themselves very reflective. Liam Gallagher’s adoration of the 60’s sound continues with the gorgeous “Paper Crown.” I was not only blown away, but was also taken back to another artist whose sound and sheer genius I adore: David Bowie. I immediately thought I was listening to a modern play on Space Oddity and Life on Mars? But with Liam Gallagher’s voice… Sounds bizarre I know, but oh boy does it work. The sound of the acoustic guitar in this song is truly beautiful and gives us that lovely throwback to the 60’s sound of British music. Liam’s eerie and insightful lyrics about youth, fear and solitude are also gripping.
“For What It’s Worth” is probably the song on the album that reminds me the most of Oasis’ iconic sound. One can think of Stand By Me (Be Here Now) and Little by Little (Heathen Chemistry). In terms of the beautiful use of the strings, one can also think of Oasis’ Whatever. Radio X DJ Chris Moyles has so rightly said that it reminds us of the style of symphonic rock pioneer Jeff Lynne with ELO’s perfect blend of orchestral sounds, strings and rock music. Through the vocals of “For What It’s Worth”, we see a new side of Liam that is both emotional and apologetic.
The confrontational “Greedy Soul” is like an amplification of Liam’s infamous public image. It is a great track to either tap your feet to or listen to while you’re doing a sassy walk down the high street. In an interview with Chris Moyles on Radio X earlier this week, he described it as like having a vindaloo:
“Filth. Utter filth. You know when you have a vindaloo and you start sweating, and you’re thinking should I put this down – but you start carrying on because you’re just into it.”
In agreement with Liam himself, it is truly aggressive but addictive.
“I’ve All I Need” is another song I absolutely adore. It is both heartfelt and dreamy. Liam has said that it reminds him particularly of the guitar-driven music by The La’s. It expresses content with one’s life, and the hope, gratitude and sheer love expressed at one single moment. He would probably prefer that we always think of him as the aggressive Rockstar, but it is songs like these which make the man more multi-faceted and more creative than we give him credit for. The acoustic guitar is melodic, and Liam’s voice sounds blissful and romantic. The lyrics “I hibernate and sing / While gathering my wings” was discovered when Liam met Yoko in New York with his son Lennon. At her house, Liam saw a large banner in the kitchen containing these words. Yoko then tells Liam that they were spoken by John Lennon during his break from music. It certainly seems that Liam has taken out the time to grow and reflect. Liam Gallagher has certainly been gathering his wings, and now he can soar.
So, after that spiel, what’s my final verdict? Basically, “It is fantastic!” and “about time!”. I think it has truly smashed expectations of his capabilities as a solo artist. I would advise you all to look beyond the arrogant comments and the brash behaviour – just enjoy the music for what it is, because I think it at least deserves that. As a solo artist, Liam has retained the 60’s inspiration, the grit, the attitude and a fraction of the iconic Oasis sound but has also revealed how his matured musical character can flourish in 2017. “As You Were” truly encompasses the spirited, reflective and versatile portrait of Liam Gallagher.
Welcome back Liam Gallagher, we’ve missed you!
From Sophia with Love x