Liam Gallagher weighs in leaner and meaner on his second LP, Why Me? Why Not. The album is the follow-up to 2017’s commendable, As You Were, which was Gallagher’s first proper solo album after the disbandment of both Oasis and his short-lived group, Beady Eye. Recorded in Los Angeles and London—including sessions at Abbey Road Studios—Gallagher teamed up once again with super-producers and songwriters Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt, both well-known, respectively, for their work with artists ranging from Paul McCartney and Panic! At the Disco to P!nk and Lady Gaga, to deliver a feisty and fastidious collection of praise-worthy rockers.
The album opens up with the super-charged “Shockwave,” a cut that let’s everyone know that Liam Gallagher is back in the building. A blues harmonica wheezes in and out of the chunky Kinks chords and amp fuzz that drives the hard rocker. And not that Gallagher needed any more of it, but the swag of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is called to mind, as well. Lyrically, Gallagher spits heaters for darts throughout most of Why Me? Why Not. A bad juju lingers at times, as though Gallagher feels he’s been sold out, held down, stabbed in the back, and condescended to while on the journey to the here and now—and the time has come for payback. In true fashion, he comes after his tormentors like a pugilist, like rock ‘n’ roll’s Muhammad Ali in the midst of his second reign.
However, Gallagher’s angst is often subsided by a sense of emptiness, such as on the track, “One of Us”—a song about family that conjures up empathy for its singer and is possibly even a musical olive branch being extended to his brother, Noel. Gallagher croons in his classic nasal fashion, “Well, I’ve gotta go, maybe see you down the road, won’cha tell the kid I said goodbye?” It’s unclear whether “the kid” is Liam, Noel, or an entirely different individual altogether, but, it is widely known that “kid” has long been a term of affection within the Gallagher family.
But even for all the lamenting, the album showcases a tremendous growth in Gallagher’s songwriting, especially as a lyricist. Gone are the cringe-worthy lyrics that were peppered throughout As You Were, and musically—with the help of Kurstin, Wyatt, and select others—Why Me? Why Not. packs far more punch and delivers the goods when it comes to the hooks. On “Once”—another lyrically strong look back at another time in Gallagher’s life—he bends the verses like a country singer, as the track swirls deeper into psychedelia than Liam Gallagher has perhaps ever gone. “Now That I’ve Found You” is Gallagher’s best attempt, thus far, at Oasis-styled, power-pop rock. It’s big chorus is irresistible, and it’s aplomb makes it feel alright to vibe out like it’s 1994 and not 2019.
Elsewhere on the album are plenty of solid rockers, such as the Stonsey “Halo” and the forsaken generation blues of “The River.” Gallagher has said before that he would welcome an Oasis reunion; He’s also talked about starting a supergroup with himself and members of The Stone Roses and The Verve. So, like with all things Liam Gallagher, sit back, strap yourself in, and enjoy the moment. The takeaway, if you so require one, is that if Gallagher continues to make records like Why Me? Why Not., he won’t need a supergroup, or even Oasis, for that matter. He’ll be just fine doing his own thing.