Why me? Just because
You want to hate Liam Gallagher. After all, he’s the main reason Oasis split up 10 years ago in Paris (ironically, at a music festival I went 10 times in a row after that). And he’d been vocally annoying even before that: in many ways, (Liam) Gallagher visibly still acts like a low level Manchester thug, even though he’s now one of the most celebrated artists on the face of the earth, has millions of devoted fans (despite all of it), and now has a solo career that in anything but laughable.
I say ‘acts like’ because it is not entirely certain how much in Gallagher’s behavior is act and how much is actual rudeness — although probably a bit of both. Either way, the man is back this year (last month, to be precise) with his second solo album, Why me? Why not, following the two albums he released with Beady Eye… following Oasis’ discography that is a fairly well known of the British musical lexicon. And, again, you would like to be critical of the work: his brother Noel Gallagher was always the principal songwriter in Oasis, the man behind “Wonderwall” and “Don’t look back in anger” alike. And Noel has a flourishing post-Oasis career of his own, having produced no less than three albums with his High flying birds.
Yet… against most odds, it is Liam’s latest work that comes out ahead. Specifically, the third single out of his new album, “One of us”.
From the initial, interestingly arrhythmic drumbeat to the chorus that is more of a melancholic chant than a chorus per se, that song is a little piece of British pop rock at its absolute finest. The voice is not too harsh (that had happened before), the melody is quite engaging, and subtly featured strings come to enhance the finished product. In other words, a beautiful, coherent, smooth track to be enjoyed without moderation.
The song may arguably not be the greatest tune of the year (that would be Cardi B’ “Please me”; OK, that’s a joke, but Iggy Pop’s haunting “James Bond” might take that prize), it may not even be (Liam) Gallagher’s best — I would still go for his timely confessional “For what it’s worth” — but it is darn efficient nonetheless (no cursing here, the man has done enough on his own). And the fact that Peaky Blinders creators helmed the accompanying video doesn’t hurt either.
But what is truly surprising is that Liam’s latest output readily beats out Noel’s, the perfectly listenable but somewhat detached “Black star dancing”. After a decade of parallel careers, and while many (myself included) would have bet on Noel emerging as the obvious star that he is, it turns out that little Liam is not little anymore, and that he indeed has very interesting (musical) things to say to all of us. Never say never…