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Essential Listening: Liam Gallagher

Essential Listening: Liam Gallagher

Jonathan Coll | Features & Interviews

Liam Gallagher is back. The haircut is back. The bravado is back. The tambourine is back. The parka is back. And, confusingly, the potato peeler has made its debut. This is all significant because only a short while ago there was only one Gallagher brother in town. Noel and his High-Flying Birds were selling out arenas and headlining festivals, while Liam’s Beady Eye project was never fully embraced, despite having its moments.

He decided to go solo. To redefine his career off the back of his own charisma and to meet his status as one of Britain’s last remaining rockstars head on. His decision to work alongside producers Greg Kurstin, Andrew Wyatt and Dan Grech-Marguerat paid dividends. His voice was sharp and his new records had the sort of DIY spirit which made Oasis so popular. Noel’s position as the country’s favourite Gallagher is under serious threat. And while their will-they-won’t-they is entering Ross and Rachel levels of tedium, we now get to enjoy twice the musical output and that’s no bad thing.

Wall of Glass

It would be remiss to begin any piece on Liam’s recent redemption without a nod to the album/Twitter slogan which became one of the year’s most popular. This was the tune which, to many, marked the older Gallagher’s return to form. Wall of Glass had picked up where Beady Eye had failed to leave off. A snarling, nasally vocal, a catchy chorus and one of 2017’s best guitar riffs was a winning, if simple, formula.

I’m Outta Time

Whenever anyone wheels out the old trope that Liam didn’t write any of Oasis’ material, wheel this one right back at them. The Beatles’ influence is obvious, but it’s a record Noel couldn’t help but call “deceptively brilliant”. It’s also one of the tracks which fit Liam’s voice best. Surprising, as many of his best performances came on more anthemic stadium tunes. It’s not hard to imagine Noel having a lot of fun with the lyrics if he had the chance, but this one was all LG.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Star

In the wake of the Manchester atrocity last summer, and the fantastic One Love Manchester which was organised in response, Liam reaffirmed his status as the country’s foremost rock and roll star. The track had always been a fans’ favourite, with live versions being released on Familiar to Millions and from the bands Etihad Stadium gig in 2005. Punchy, raucous and unerringly direct. Noel, who wrote the lyrics, said it was one of the few songs on which he had anything to say. Its message could hardly be more appropriate.

The Roller

The lead, and best, single to come from Beady Eye. It’s been suggested that the track was originally written in 2001 for Heathen Chemistry but failed to make the cut. Although “Different Gear, Still Speeding” failed to fully take off, The Roller was an encouraging offering. It’s in much the same vain as Stop Crying Your Heart Out and Songbird; two of the better Oasis efforts which were carried by Liam. Carrying their style into his first post-Oasis project was a positive step on his road to redemption.

Live Forever

Perhaps the greatest song on what was indisputably Oasis’ best work. Released as a single prior to Definitely Maybe, it was utterly explicit in its love for the man who inspired Oasis, John Lennon. The artwork and original music video both carry more than a nod to the Beatles legend and its difficult to imagine any of Liam Gallagher’s best work coming to fruition without his influence. Live Forever grabbed the world’s attention. It reached number 10 in the British Singles’ chart in 1994, but the serious plaudits would roll in later. In 2006 Q deemed it to be the best song ever written, it’ll be interesting to see how Liam aims to better perfection.

Liam Gallagher headlines Manchester's Parklife Festival on Sunday 10th June.   

Image courtesy of Rankin. 

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