- Released: 2019
- Origin: Manchester, England
- Label: Warner
- Best Track: The River
Liam Gallagher’s transition into a solo artist has been more of a success than many expected. I always imagined Liam coping without Noel as much as Dougal would on Craggy Island without Father Ted. Instead, he’s arguably fared the better of the two Gallagher brothers since their fallout.
Perhaps that’s just typical of the snobbery that sometimes exists in rock music though, much like how Tony Wilson believed the Happy Mondays never got the acclaim they deserved because of their backgrounds and behaviour. How can these uncouth, foul-mouthed Northerners be musicians? Maybe because you don’t need a PhD. and a childhood spent at stage school to write a decent song? Maybe because music is consumed by ordinary people?
Liam seems to be making that point with the title of his second solo album, although perhaps it’s also a play on his idol Mario Balotelli’s iconic ‘Why Always Me?’ T-shirt. In any case, the album is the sound of a man who has found his voice in more ways than one, and suggests that maybe Liam wasn’t just the brute force of Oasis, but some of the brains as well.
What I find so refreshing about Liam’s solo work is that he seems influenced by bands that he himself influenced. If he was a brand new artist, you might point to a Kasabian or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club vibe on album opener ‘Shockwave’ and the excellent ‘The River’, but once his vocals – the most unmistakable voice of a generation – kick in, this is Liam Gallagher to a T.
I was obsessed by Oasis in my teens, but back then I thought Liam was a right eejit. Today I’m not half as into them, yet I’ve come to really like him. His metamorphosis from a cocky young gobshite into an affable old loudmouth is intriguing and heartwarming. He no longer has to tell us how great he is, because he knows it.
Never short on blunt wit, it’s no surprise that Liam is able to dovetail this into his lyrics, which are certainly better than some of the drivel that came out of Noel’s drug-addled mind on Be Here Now, for example. On the title track, he tackles overcoming imposter syndrome as he urges “Stand your ground and defy / Anyone that tries to tell you you ain’t beautiful”. Is this not true confidence and self-belief, more so than the somewhat needy posturing of Kanye West?
Why Me? Why Not. is, above all, a record about loving yourself. And if yourself is Liam Gallagher, why not indeed?