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CD of The Week

Week of 9/23/19

    Liam Gallagher - Why Me? Why Not. (Warner)

    A full decade after the split of Oasis, Liam Gallagher reminisces of the old days on his sophomore solo release, Why Me? Why Not.

    Various aspects of his 2017 album, As You Were, carry over to this effort. Once again, Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt lend their writing and production talents, with the album offering more of the same sound. The airing of dirty laundry between the brothers Gallagher is overly abundant. In true Gallagher fashion, the album is littered with Beatles references and influences, including the name of the album, which combines the names of two of John Lennon's pieces of art.

    Opening with "Shockwave," the tone is set with a familiar feel of late-era Oasis mixed with a sense of urgency and determination. The song celebrates Liam's triumphant return to music as a solo artist - As You Were debuted at #1 in the UK and sold more copies than the rest of the top 10 combined when it was released. It also serves as the familiar dig to his brother in the age-old feud with no end in sight.

    The album continues with "One of Us," which opens with a strangely-written lyric, "Hey did, did you know? Today 16 years ago it was you and I for the last time." Being written in 2018, the track calls back to the time Liam considers the beginning of the end of his relationship with Noel. It can also be argued that this is a sort-of Beatles reference, with a nod to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

    This is where the theme begins to change, however. Instead of the jabs at Noel, Liam begins a trek into nostalgia that will last the whole record. "Come on, I know you want more" and "After it all, you'll find out you were always one of us," he pleads to his long-lost brother. The classic Oasis sound is in full effect while Liam calls on his brother to reunite as brothers and musicians.

    As the album continues, we see another emotional side of Liam Gallagher. "Now That I've Found You" is a promising love song to his oldest daughter, who lived with her mother and hadn't met her father until she was 19 years old. We see an apology for missing the first part of her life, and a promise to never let go. "Halo" is an ode to his fiancée and manager, Debbie Gwyther, who Gallagher proclaims is "filling up my sky like a halo 'round the sun."

    The journey progresses as Gallagher mixes a sound we've come to expect from him with a hint of maturity from looking back on the past 20 years. "The River" sees him putting away the "clouds of weed" and time machines in order to break free from the past, while "Gone" tells the tale of someone breaking away from a failed relationship.

    Unlike As You Were, Why Me? Why Not. sees Gallagher taking more of a role in writing, having co-written every song on the album. This could be the reason we see more lamenting and longing for a reconnection with his brother. Whatever the case may be, it's clear no one misses the days of Oasis more than Liam Gallagher.

    Review by Dan Baker

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