Image: Greg Williams via Pomona

Liam Gallagher’s ‘C’mon, You Know’ is the album of the summer

When I think of Liam Gallagher, I think of summer. I think of beer gardens and sticky hot days and giant festivals in muddy fields with just a light splattering of the all-too-familiar sweltering summer rain. C’mon, You Know is no exception. 

On his third solo album, Gallagher uses every trick in the book to make what may rightly be called the album of the summer. The title track ‘C’mon, You Know’ epitomises this summertime feeling. With a gospel choir laying the foundation for the track, and a high tempo fast piano and synth taking the main stage throughout the majority of the song, the song feels like the build-up anthem to the rest of the album. Liam Gallagher has not come to play, and in ‘C’mon, You Know’, he makes sure you are fully aware of that. 

The album is nothing experimental, new, or different. After all, in an NME interview in February, he boldly stated: “All these people that go out and do something different – good for them and all that, but if I like something, I just stick with it.”

His unapologetic arrogance is part of what has made him such a polarising figure

For most musicians, this would be an arrogant, exaggerated statement that would make both critics and fans dismiss them instantly. But for Liam Gallagher, it works. His unapologetic arrogance is part of what has made him such a polarising figure. It is also part of his undeniably successful formula for maintaining his fame for so long. 

Other than the aforementioned gospel choir in the title track, the only other piece of tentative experimentation is the use of children’s voices to open the album on ‘More Power’. “How I wish I had more power” sing the children, as if to lay out a red carpet for when Gallagher’s own voice comes in. “People talking like they’re gods / But that’s just not the deal”, he sings. What that means, exactly, I don’t know. But the slight lyrical mishap is forgiven when Gallagher and the children’s voices climax in harmonies during the cymbal-riddled chorus. 

Unsurprisingly, the one qualm I have with this album is its lyricism. For an artist with such a strong repertoire, it should be a crime to pronounce independence as “indie-pendence” because there aren’t enough syllables in the line (‘Too Good For Giving Up’). Why can Liam Gallagher not take listen to his own song titles to understand that sometimes, something is not too good to give up? 

The larger-than-life artist narrowly escapes the album being branded as a mismatched collage of influences

This line isn’t the only offender when it comes to bad lyrics: “I had a girl, she gave me hell / In a flat in Camberwell” (‘Don’t Go Halfway’). The intention is evident: Gallagher is taunting his listeners as if to ask ‘how far can I go before they hold me accountable for bad lyrics?’. Liam Gallagher’s arrogance can excuse a lot of things, but bad lyricism is where the line has to be drawn. 

But at the end of the day, few people listen to Liam Gallagher for his poetry – what matters with Gallagher are his melodies, and of course, the songs’ suitability to be played live. And because C’mon, You Know is a distilled version of his first two solo albums combined, Gallagher does much more than fulfil the brief. However, there is only so far one can use the same musical style before their songs become, at best, ‘heavily inspired by’, and at worst, undeniably plagiarised. With clear influences from The Beatles, the Rolling Stones (‘More Power’ seems to be the greatest offender of this) as well as his personal discography, Gallagher flirts with pastiche. Perhaps it is because of his arrogance or even self-awareness, but somehow, the larger-than-life artist narrowly escapes the album being branded as a mismatched collage of influences. Instead, C’mon, You Know is the epitome of what can only be described as the ‘Liam Gallagher sound’.

Awkward lines and clear influences aside, C’mon, You Know is grand, loud, and exciting. It is the natural evolution of both Oasis and Gallagher’s solo work. Listening to it on cheap tinny speakers on the way to work or as background music doing mundane tasks does not do it justice. Instead, the album demands to be listened to from powerful speakers in open-field festivals, or amongst tens of thousands of people in arenas around the globe. With a slew of stadium shows lined up for the year – including a two-night run at the iconic Knebworth Park in Stevenage – it is clear that both Gallagher and his fans are on the same page. Summer is coming, Liam Gallagher is back, and people just want to have fun. 

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