Album Review : Liam Gallagher ‘As you were’

In the eyes of many fans, perhaps Mr. Gallagher could do no wrong. With his first solo album smashing the charts and his cult of personality permeating public consciousness, Gallagher has put himself on a pedestal which cannot fail. There is an irresistible arrogance to the album, an arrogance which is present in every song. There is no moment where Gallagher humbles himself. Yeah… good. “Rock” music needs more arseholes to challenge the music industry, to be a personality among the ctrl+c – ctrl+v pop stars. He is a storm within the calm waters of showbiz. This album is very much a reflection of these attitudes, and of these ideals.

The context of this album is one that cannot be separated from the music. Liam seems to be channelling his meme-friendly banter within his new solo music. Let us find out if the music matches this painfully idiosyncratic personality.

“Wall of Glass” is the anthem of the album, the driving track, produced by legendary Greg Kurstin, who has produced some of the most successful and emotive pop music in recent memory. “Hello” by Adele being one of them. So there is a level of sophistication to this album, whether this sophistication pays off is yet to be revealed.
“Wall of Glass” to me, encapsulates my thoughts of this album.

That the album is a nostalgic throwback to the peak of Brit-pop, channelling everything which made Oasis so massive popular and replicating it with a team of producers who know how. This is not a negative necessarily, being able to re-produce the vibes of a cultural movement is a great feat, but for me, this led to a very dated and stiff album. In my eyes, this track and this album are attempting to do what Johnny Marr has been able to do with his last 2 albums, recreate a dead sound but do it convincingly and with fresh ideas and gorgeous song writing. It is also very unfortune that the album opens with its best song, as the peak of an album really shouldn’t be the first four minutes. Imagine seeing a film with the best 10-minute opening sequence you’ve seen, for the next 2 hours to be dull and a real slog.

I can hear Kurstin working in the background, playing on Liam’s natural talents and swagger to produce tracks which at times end up served as rotten clichés. I can almost hear the voices when they sat down to record “Bold” and “Greedy Soul”, the voices which say, ‘yes we need a delicate acoustic track which explodes toward the end’ and ‘yeah but what about a rockabilly blues track? Gotta have one of those’.

This is how the album feels. It doesn’t feel natural. I could talk all day about the kinds of sounds all the instruments make, but at the end of the hour these sounds feel fake. Everyone will know what I mean by this abstract concept of “fake”, as if the songs have been written for no other purpose than the purpose of writing songs. Therefore, the songs are shallow, and offer nothing to the listener, emotionally or creatively. Songs for the sake of songs, not for another sake. In my mind, it is the “other” sakes that make music unique and interesting. This album lacks that entirely. The album offers no convincing feeling of natural musicianship, or of natural song-writing. Each track feels like an intentional marker left behind by Gallagher. There is no sugar, there is no spice, there are only the pages of the recipe book, left out on the side to find.

My problem with the album is that I don’t find any of the tracks interesting. The vocal performances of Mr. Liam are irritating. I wouldn’t quite know how to describe the sound he makes with his voice (its commonly reproduced by up and coming bowl-cut bands) but on tracks like “For what it’s worth”, when the instrumentation is agonizingly boring and opaque with absolutely no flare or pizazz, his whines become even more intolerable. Maybe it’s an “acquired taste” that I’ve never had the pleasure of acquiring. The same problems appear on “When I’m in need” and “Universal Gleam”, providing nothing of interest or substance.

With “As You Were” it is clear to the see the grandiose ideas and the complex songcraft that Liam Gallagher has attempted. For this I give him credit. I do think he believes himself to be the guardian of Rock N Roll, the saviour of “real” music. But for Liam, his idea of “real” music is the opposite of mine and his efforts have fallen flat.

Gallagher has a dazzling personality, but he is severely lacking in creativity and artistic execution. I appreciate the Gallagher’s as cultural icons, I really do. However, these icons are best relegated to the confines of the Manchester Museum (alongside the new Stone Roses tracks).
In other news, NME have claimed that Liam has “done the sensible thing and roped in a hit list of Los Angeles music industry heavyweights to avoid a Beady Eye situation. Steering clear of weak Oasis imitations”. NME are the largest idiotic arselick factory in the country

If anything, Beady Eye was less of a weak Oasis imitation than this album. I wouldn’t be surprised if Liam had written some of these tracks in case of an Oasis reunion. The Los Angeles talent have simply harnessed and exaggerated Liam’s desire and yearning for the past. His cup of tea video wasn’t a funny little reflection of the diminishing state of rock stars, it was sad reflection of a personality out of time, out of place. This is how I feel about the album.

Anyway. If you’ve made it this far, it’s probably fair to say that my assessment of this album is far from positive. Still a better album than Noel’s managed to produce tho.

Readers of this will also enjoy The Stone Roses / Oasis / Kasabian / Noel Gallagher / The Rolling Stones / The Beatles

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