Look, I’m all for taking the stuffing out of a Gallagher brother as often as they require it, but how great is it to have Liam Gallagher back? His brand-new single “Wall of Glass” is the worthy, if long delayed, solo debut from the former Oasis co-frontman, who’s—well, “languished in obscurity” would be a grave injustice to his Twitter feed—certainly not enjoyed the same success as his brother’s outfit in recent years. (Beady Eye, Liam’s band with the other former Oasis members, dissolved in 2014.)
“Wall of Glass” skews more pop than the foggier corners of the Oasis catalog, owing in part to a co-write from Greg Kurstin, producer of adult-pop megahits for Adele. If the first single is anything to go by, Kurstin has successfully grokked the Gallagher ethos, while leaving Liam enough room to swagger. “Wall of Glass” sounds fucking massive, and Gallagher sounds just about as good as he ever has. That voice’s really all you need to make something Britpop, though the soulful feminine backing vocals through the chorus do set it off nicely.
Here’s the thing: If you’re going to write a hit for Liam Gallagher in 2017, you might as well write an Oasis song. Maybe I’ve just listened to 2005’s Don’t Believe the Truth too many times, but if “Wall of Glass” were on an Oasis album, it would be that one. The way the intro crashes and howls is a little “Mucky Fingers”; the way the harmonica skips over the rhythmic guitar part could’ve been carved out of “The Meaning of Soul.” But the song doesn’t feel like pastiche, like much of Beady Eye’s output did; this version of Liam Gallagher sounds like he’s convinced he’s making something good.
Perhaps most refreshing is how, at age 44, Liam’s developed an ounce of humility about his talent. “I’m not going out saying I’m Bob Dylan,” he told an interviewer last week. “Ideally, you want to do it yourself. But I can’t write those f***ing big songs. I’m limited. My verses are up there, but I just can’t do that next bit. There will be people that go, ‘Oh, well, you didn’t write half of it,’ but the main thing is getting a record done, getting back touring and doing what I do: singing and moving people, rather than sitting at home doing nothing, spouting off on Twitter.”
All of this is the best idea I’ve heard out of Liam Gallagher in years. How about that verse, then, since it’s “up there”:
You believe in fascinations
And designer vaccinations, love
You get along
You were sold a one direction
I believe the resurrection’s on
And you were wrong
That’s some classic Oasis word salad. Maybe he’s negging Harry Styles again. I’ve got no idea what it means—but it sure sounds good, doesn’t it?