So here it is, what could be the most eagerly awaited album of 2017 - Liam Gallagher's debut solo album.After years of saying he would never do it on his own, has the outspoken 45-year old been able to reclaim the success he found in the 90s with Oasis?
Well actually, to be brief...no. Since the cinematic release of Oasis's documentary Supersonic to UK cinemas, all the talk has been about a reunion between the Gallagher brothers. Little mention of how the other members of late 00's Oasis would actually feel about this, of course. The narrative has come full circle really, Liam claims his 'bags are packed' for a reunion, Noel says absolutely nothing, Liam slates him on Twitter using a high-schoolesque insult, and everyone forgets about it for 8-10 weeks until the process is repeated.
As You Were was Liam's time to seperate himself from the relatively unsuccessful years in Beady Eye and to re-establish himself as the rock n' roll star he is. Whether or not he had the writing capabilities to create a solo album was questioned, but with the help of some established songwriters and producers, he has without doubt managed to move himself away from Oasis's sound. It was inevitable that comparisons would be made, but in truth that's just clutching at straws, let's accept this new movement with open arms.
It's a very different album to what the majority of people were expecting, with common themes including apologies, regret and the youngest brother making peace with past conflicts. He seems to want us to know that God is supporting him through these confessions, "In my defence all my intentions were good, and heaven holds a place for the misunderstood." These messages almost convey Liam as a more regretful, emotional character, completely contrasting the persona we've seen dominating music news with his blunt views for so many years.
It is all rather fitting, given that this isn't the Liam Gallagher that smashes up hotel rooms, refuses to perform live and gets into fights, but instead the tea-making 45 year old father Liam Gallagher, who is - in his own words - "very, very zen". This new outlook on life has been portrayed expertedly in the previously released 'Chinatown', one of the standout tracks on the record, and one that will be defining in post-Oasis Liam Gallagher's music.
The release of 'Chinatown' brings a matured, richer sound to his repertoire, with melodic, soft vocals replacing the raspy bars we hear in the live performances. It is the most complex song on the album, and even so it still feels so stripped-back. Gallagher doesn't sound entirely at home hitting the high notes and carrying a chorus solely with his voice, but it made a statement of intent about going in a different direction, especially as it followed the release of 'Wall Of Glass', which closely resembles his work from Beady Eye.
In the same sort of vein, 'Bold', 'All My People/All Mankind', and 'I've All I Need', all carry this meloncholy undertone, sang in a mellowed tone. The latter of the three in the track listings feeling slightly like it has taken influences from John Lennon. Previously released 'For What It's Worth' divided opinion back in August, but it sounds even better on the album. Gallagher passionately sends out an apology, rumoured to be directed at Noel. There are reflections of 90s electric guitar twangs throughout the chorus, but it is all about the lyrics in the chorus.
Though the album mostly seems like making peace with his past, there is a hint of some classic Liam Gallagher anger in 'Greedy Soul', with the pulsating drum beats and pacey bars setting an aggressive tone right from the start. As Liam sings, "You're getting told, you greedy soul, you've been telling lies, you're a slippery kind" you can feel the burning passion. This feels like a message he has been wanting to be rid of for a long time, and it has erupted out into a three-and-a-half minute loud number. There had to be at least one song on the record that felt like a middle finger to someone, and 'Greedy Soul' is definitely just that.
As challenging as it may be, 'As You Were' should be listened to without any preconceptions or context. This is a man who isn't trying to recapture the glory days of Oasis through his music anymore. He has openly said he is enjoying making music and that fans should be ecstatic about the fact both Noel and himself are still making great music. This record isn't history-defining and it hasn't changed rock n' roll as we know it, besides we all know that Liam was always a better live performer, but the majority of tracks are well-written, honest, and pleasurable to listen to.
Experience of both music and life shines through gloriously to create an eclectic blend of sounds, ranging from completely familiar in 'Wall of Glass' and 'Greedy Soul', and a new direction in 'I Never Wanna Be Like You'. The notorious singer has stuck to his roots in what it takes to make a great rock song, in the wake of this pop-rock fusion that is dominating indie charts at present, but he has revealed some creative progression in his writing and vocals that is refreshing to hear.