After launching his solo career with 2017’s platinum-selling As You Were, Liam Gallagher had a simple mission statement for the follow-up: Do it again and do it better. “I’m never going to change my genre of music,” he tells Apple Music. “I know what the people who come to see me want and I know what they don’t want, so it’s very easy. I’m not trying to make Sgt. Pepper, I'm not trying to make The Wall. It is what it is. Neil Young hasn’t changed his sound for fucking 40 years and no one gets on his case. And I’m not saying I’m Neil Young, because I'm far from it.”
Liam is well aware of what he is: the greatest rock ’n’ roll singer of his generation. On Why Me? Why Not., his voice crackles with love, wisdom, vitriol, and hurt. He’s as magnetic as he was when Oasis was in their imperial period—and these are some of the best songs he’s been on in the last two decades. He’s thrillingly barbed on the punchy glam-rock of “Shockwave” and adrenalizing on “The River,” a set of psych-rock jumper cables for the soul. The tender moments are just as stirring, not least when he pledges enduring love for his daughter Molly on “Now That I’ve Found You.” The centerpiece is “Once,” a reflective heart-sweller with the sort of goosebump chorus that he’s been nailing for 25 years. “It’s one of those songs that you come across every couple of years, or once in your lifetime,” he says. “We had a few of them in Oasis. If Noel had wrote it or if it was going out under the Oasis name, I think a lot of people’d be creaming in their pants. It’s up there, I think, with anything Lennon’s ever done, or Pink Floyd or Bowie. I feel like I levitate when I'm singing that. So if you see me floating about up in the sky, you know I'm having a good time.”
On “One of Us,” he sings, “Come on, I know you want more/Come on and open your door/After it all, you’ll find out/You were always one of us.” It’s an olive branch extended to Noel—not that Liam thinks it will be accepted. “Oh, god, no. No way, man. He doesn't want to get in the ring with me again, for many reasons. You know why? Because he knows that he has to share the load, and standing next to me, he becomes very, very small. He’s already fucking small. So he doesn't want that, he wants the limelight for himself. But there you go, you keep trying, don't you? I think that’ll be the last one. I’m done. I’m going to get on with me shit, man.
“But I’ll still dig him out, because he needs to be dug out. And he’ll dig me out because I need to be dug out. But it is love, love, love, it’s not hate, hate, hate. I don’t hate him. I love him, you know what I mean?”
The explosive end of Oasis and his subsequent band Beady Eye’s gentler winding down wasn’t what Gallagher had planned for either group. But having found two collaborators “who know exactly what I’m about”—writer-producers Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt—he’s getting on with the business of being the singular, outstanding voice of big, emotive rock tunes.
“Listen, man, I had four years in the wilderness not doing anything,” he says of the tough time between Beady Eye and As You Were, which included a divorce. “I wasn't stranded in the desert with no food. I wasn't captured by the Taliban. I was in the pub getting off me tits, but, still, it was a good thing for me to get my personal life in order. You can't have an untidy house. I’ve got a lot of making up to do. As long as people want it, I'll do it, because there's nothing else to do, and it's the best gig in the fucking world.”
Twenty-five years after he first emerged with Oasis, Gallagher’s in great shape personally and professionally, and he’s doing what he’s always set out to do: “Sing some tunes and have the craic.” Why Me? Why Not. is further proof that the world of rock is a better, brighter place with him in it. “I'm good at being a rock ’n’ roll star. There’s a new generation out there that want a bit, so they're getting it.”