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Liam Gallagher of Oasis Is Back With a Fantastic New Album

Liam Gallagher Cal Jam 17 Music Festival, San Bernardino, USA - 07 Oct 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)

Liam Gallagher of Oasis has released his first solo album ever. It’s called As You Were and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s an instant rock classic. It may not reach the lofty heights Liam reached with Oasis, but this album certainly does come darn close. This review is of the Deluxe Edition.

My favorite song on the album is “For What It’s Worth.”

It’s Liam’s way of taking responsibility for the many mistakes he has made in his life and career. Liam says about this song:

I guess it is an apology to whoever. I’ve pissed a lot of people off. … Classic, beautiful song. … There’s a lot of emotion in it, man.

The reason I love this song so much is very simple. As Liam himself says, “that’s the most Oasis-y kinda song on the album.” Every Oasis fan in the world simply recognizes that Oasis sound. “For What It’s Worth” is Liam’s personal version of “Stop Crying Your Heart Out.”

As with every other song on the As You Were album, Liam combines sadness, grief, and even anger with optimism. It’s a recognition of mistakes he has made, but he’s ready to move on, hoping that the same goes for those he has hurt. As he sings in the first verse of the song:

In my defence all my intentions were good
And heaven holds a place somewhere for the misunderstood
You know I’d give you blood if it’d be enough
Devil’s on my doorstep since the day I was born
Its hard to find a sunset in the eye of a storm
But I’m a dreamer by design and I know in time we’ll put this behind

And the chorus:

For what it’s worth I’m sorry for the hurt
I’ll be the first to say, “I made my own mistakes”
For what it’s worth I know it’s just a word and words betray
Sometimes we lose our way
For what it’s worth

The third verse could be Liam’s way of reaching out to his older brother Noel, with whom Liam has always had a love-hate relationship, even — or perhaps especially — during their Oasis years:

The first bird to fly gets all the arrows
Lets leave the past behind with all our sorrows
I’ll build a bridge between us and I’ll swallow my pride

This interpretation is backed by Liam’s own statements about “For What It’s Worth.” After describing it as the most Oasis-like song on the album, he added:

You know, I’m proud to be in Oasis, I love Oasis, still do — not a day that goes by without thinking of it, you know what I mean? So it’s good to be making music of caliber.

Another fantastic song is “Bold.” It’s a slo- tempo song, full of references to his divorce. The slow pace of the song combined with Liam’s famous voice — which is emotional, yet strong — makes it a fantastic listen for anyone who ever went through something similar, but got through it by focusing on positive things:

Gonna take you off my list of to-dos
Gonna sing my soul
Shake off these blues
‘Cause it’s alright, it’s alright now
When I wake up and I
Hear you say
There’s no love worth chasing yesterday
‘Cause it’s alright, it’s alright now

And the chorus:

Yes I know
I’ve been bold
I didn’t do what I was told
Yes I know
You soft soul
You didn’t do what I was told

In every verse, Liam mixes sadness (or even a hint of frustration) with optimism. It’s clear that his marital ordeal had a tremendous impact on him.

Although it’d be logical to assume that Liam’s words are aimed at his ex-wife, that’s not the case. In an interview with Crack Magazine, the British rocker explained that it’s largely about his friends who abandoned him during the divorce. Because of their reluctance to support him when he needed them most, he’s had it with them. But, again, the tone is optimistic. It’s alright now, it’s alright now, Liam’s over it — and over them:

I ain’t looking for you nine to five
Sick of wasting my sweet, precious time
‘Cause it’s alright, it’s alright now

He explained back in 2015 when he first released the song (as a solo album track):

When it’s all goin’ good, when there are drinks to be drunk, they’ve got their arm ’round you. But they scamper when the s*** hits the fan. Not that I needed them anyway.

Liam also makes it clear that everybody can feel free to blame him for everything that happened. “Lay it on me, lay it on me” he repeats … and repeats … and repeats in the bridge:

Lay it on me
Lay it on me
Lay it on me, yeah

Lay it on me
Lay it on me
Lay it on me, yeah

Lay it on me
Lay it on me, yeah, oh yeah
Lay it on me
Lay it on me, yeah, oh yeah

“You Better Run” is the old bravado we know from Liam, combined with a fast tempo. This one is meant for those who talk a good game, but who can’t back their words. Says Liam:

That’s to every little s***bag wannabe rock star who thinks they’re doing this rock’n’roll business a service, because there’s a lot of them out there that ain’t. I look at the likes of U2 … Even years ago they were going, ‘We’re coming back to claim f***in’ rock’n’roll’ and all that nonsense. For me, they haven’t wrote any masterpieces — for a band that f***in’ big, with all the f***in’ stuff they’ve got at their disposal they should be writing masterpieces. They’re certainly no Beatles. It’s like “You’d better run, you’d better hide” because this album’s gonna give you a f***in’ clip round the ear or a kick up the arse.

That’s pure gold for me since, like Liam, I’ve got little appreciation for U2. They’re somehow considered legends; why that is, I’ve got no idea. Not one of their songs is a “masterpiece,” as Liam rightfully says. There was actually a time when I forced myself to like them. Everybody was so positive about U2, they couldn’t possibly all be wrong, could they? So I listened to all their albums. I analyzed their songs. I watched their music videos. After going through it all, I could only conclude that, yes, everybody was wrong. U2 sucks. Apparently they excel at marketing. Musically, this is one of the most overrated bands in history.

Liam makes clear what he thinks of such “rockers,” while issuing them a clear challenge:

See me, I’m a living wonder
I’m gonna see you on the other side
I’m gonna steal your thunder
You’d better run, you’d better hide

And:

I see you, you think you’re something
Well you’re nothing, you’re a butterfly
You’ve no love, you’ve no reflection
You’d better run, you’d better hide

Perhaps the most surprising song on the album is “Paper Crown.” Liam describes this song as follows:

Paper Crown is classic. It’s a bit Bowie I think. Good tune. I love it. I’ve left that back — we played it a bit at the first few gigs, but have held it back a bit, but we’re going to start playing it again.

That’s not a word said too much. It’s not the kind of song you’d normally link to Liam, but he definitely pulls it off. To me, the song has a second layer in addition to its obvious first layer: in my mind, it’s about Hillary Clinton. Now, it obviously is not, but man, if there was ever a song that should’ve been written for Crooked Hillary, it’s this one.

Just read the first verse:

When they gave you roses and believed your wild excuses
You were sealing the deal
Halfway down the road and ain’t it
Funny how the ghosts they fade and
Suddenly appear

And the third (and final) verse:

In the bright light of the sun
Will you make sure everyone can see your face?
You make fun of everyone who falls
And meantime they were saving you a place

Or how about the third chorus (although the other two are similar):

‘Cause you’ve never been alone before
And the wolf is at the door, oh
And the talking heads don’t make a sound
At the aging of your paper crown
It’s better when you don’t look down
At the pages of your paper crown

Take that, Hill.

The album’s second single, “Chinatown,” is very slow, deep, almost mesmerizing. It’s the sun going down while you’re watching over the ocean. Just listen to it yourself.

“Come Back To Me” is the second truly Oasis-esque song on the album. As Liam explains:

It’s another Oasis-y kinda sounding one. It started off sounding a bit “I am the Walrus” it had a big mellotron on it, so we took that off as it was really Beatles-y — so we just played it with the guitars, and that’s a monster, man.

This works perfectly. The mellotron would’ve made it too similar to the Beatles, I agree, and the guitars are more than enough to carry this song. Especially the guitar solo at the two-minute mark is simply fantastic. That’s Oasis. All. The. Way.

And then there is “I’ve All I Need.” The song is inspired by Yoko Ono and, through her, John Lennon. Liam’s voice has often been compared to Lennon’s, and it’s obvious why in this song. While listening to it, I was almost convinced that John actually sang it and that Liam just published it under his name.

Liam explains why that is:

Beautiful song — very La’s-y … I think so anyway … there’s a lot of heartfelt stuff in there man … I can tell you an interesting fact. There’s a line in there that says “I hibernate and sing/While gathering my wings”. I was over in New York once and I got a call saying “Yoko wants to meet you”, and I just called me kid Lennon. So anyway we go to Yoko’s house in Dakota building.

Cut a long story short, we go in there and in the kitchen — she invites us in and makes us a cup of tea — and she’s got this banner, massive banner round the kitchen, and I said “oh what does that mean?” and she goes “Oh John asked the same question when we went to Japan to meet my parents.” Anyway it says “while I’ve been hibernating, I’ve been gathering my wings”, and it was when he stopped making music. So I thought, write that down. So anyway, years go by, I’ve been trying to get it in to a song, could never get it in, and then it happened on that.

That line comes back in the second verse:

Tomorrow never knows
The winds of change must blow
I hibernate and sing
While gathering my wings

The song is also a reference to George Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass. Yes, Liam may be a bad boy, but he does know the history of rock — and especially that of the Beatles.

There’s no time for looking back
Thanks for all your support
Slow down, all things must pass
Take your time, know the score

When I read the title of the 14th song, “All My People / All Mankind,” I almost started crying. Not because I found it such an inspiring title, but because I was afraid that Liam would suddenly start singing about world peace and such nonsense. Well, I’m happy to admit that my initial fears were unfounded.

“All My People / All Mankind” is definitely one of the best three songs on the entire (Deluxe) album. The lyrics are bold, Liam’s voice shakes you to the core, but the melody is slow, making it all the more powerful:

Hold tight, I got what you need
Speak now, or forever hold your peace
I just want you to know
It’s my time
Short boats, not up to speed
High notes, are for birds in the trees
I just want you to know
It’s my time

The chorus:

All my people, all mankind
All truth-seekers shine

In the second verse, Liam lashes out at the selfie culture (“Stand down and less of the cheese; Selfies, what a f***ng disease”). This is followed by the infamous Liam boast in the third verse (“Gonna leave you all behind”). It may not be for everyone, and we all know that this attitude is one of the main reasons why Oasis broke up, but man, if you’re into this kind of talk (and I am), Liam definitely is your man. He also proves that with the last song on the Deluxe version of the album, “I Never Wanne Be Like You,” which — aesthetically — has a fantastic bridge in it that comes out of nowhere, but that’s absolutely perfect.

I’m afraid there is a lesser song on the album. “When I’m In Need” is meant, I think, to remind people of the Beatles, but to me it misses the mark. The lyrics are just a bit too melodramatic, too … lovely (especially for Liam), and the melody is just a bit too soft for 2017.

Besides that one song, though, As You Were truly is a great album. If I’d give Oasis’ best albums five stars out of five, As You Were certainly deserves a 4.5. And yes, that’s high praise coming from someone who’s still angry with Liam for blowing up Oasis.