AS YOU WERE by Liam Gallagher
After two Beady Eye records, Liam Gallagher’s post-Oasis life seemed, well, like we might just be waiting for the Brothers Gallagher to reconcile and give us the “better together” music we Oasis fans were waiting for. Let’s face it, even Noel, the genius songwriter, gave us two so-so records. When word hit the streets that Liam was preparing his first solo record, I tempered my expectations, while simultaneously praying for something like “Songbird” or “Out of Time”, but without Noel to help fully shape Liam’s tunes, I wasn’t about to hold my breath.
The first track we got was the very cool, very-Liam “Wall of Glass”. This one opens AS YOU WERE, and rightfully so, it’s full of the rock n roll swagger Liam has exuded since bursting on the scene with Oasis on 1994’s Definitely Maybe. There’s even a bit of Definitely Maybe’s psychedelic fuzz present in the spaces between verse and chorus.
“Wall of Glass” is followed up by “Bold”. Another terrific track that features Liam’s first playful jab at Noel’s last record: “When I wake up and I hear you say, there’s no love worth chasing yesterday…” “Bold” is laid back yet simmering with Gallagher’s petulance.
“Greedy Soul” continues the “I am Liam, hear me roar, or don’t, I don’t really give a fuck” waltz. While some of Liam’s silly lyrics show up in the verses, the pre-chorus and chorus just make this song so awesome. Gallagher’s voice sounds amazing.
And then, we get to “Paper Crown”. Written by outside contributors, this one is my favorite track on the record. It is beautiful, very Beatle-y, and Gallagher’s best vocal on the record. I LOVE this song.
“For What It’s Worth” is another standout, and maybe the closest Gallagher has come to a power ballad since “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” or “Don’t Go Away”. As much as I love this song, it is the first point in the album where I missed Noel’s Midas touch. There are empty spaces before and after the great chorus that leave the track feeling like a very well-produced demo version. I yearned for either Noel’s guitar and/or backing vocals here. Whatever, the song is still pretty stellar.
“When I’m in Need” is the first so-so song on the album. Maybe some will like it better than me. I would have left it for a b-side.
Thankfully, the album doesn’t waste any time kicking back into high gear with four five more great songs: “You Better Run” and “I Get By” are hard-charging, foot-stomping arena-ready rockers, while “Chinatown” acts as a nice, and much needed breather. Dumb lyrics try to derail the song (*note-Gallagher didn’t write this one. Outside writers are to blame), but if you can ignore them, it has a great chilled vibe. “Come Back to Me” is another one of my favorites. It has a very “Be Here Now”-vibe to it. I dig it.
“Universal Gleam” and “I’ve All I Need” are great ways to close the album out. Honest lyrics from Gallagher set to very chilled, “the party’s over” mid-temp music. Personally, I would have went with one or the other to close it out, but they’re both strong tracks, so…all’s well that ends…..well.
Overall, I give AS YOU WERE a B+ rating. A very pleasant surprise. Better than either Beady Eye or High Flying Birds record. Better than a number of Oasis records. Liam sounds fantastic, the songs are all good to great, and really only held back at all by some spotty, nonsense lyrics. But if you’re an Oasis fan, you know not to expect Springsteen in any Gallagher message. Liam is roaring, and it’s time to rock n roll. As you were.
Favorite Tracks: “Paper Crown”, “Wall of Glass”, “Come Back to Me”, “For What It’s Worth”
Grab a copy: LIAM GALLAGHER- AS YOU WERE