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26 May 2022

Liam Gallagher’s new album is a soporific wade through the swampy waste of Britpop

Recycled choruses, vapid lyrics and meat-and-two-veg guitar: C’mon You Know could only achieve profundity if you were four pints deep at Glastonbury. 

By Emily Bootle

In a recent tweet, Liam Gallagher wrote that Oasis, his old band, “piss all over” the Beatles, his favourite band. That’s nice, isn’t it. Ironic, actually, as Gallagher seems to be pissing out the Beatles’ liquid waste on his new album, C’mon You Know, a soporific wade through the kind of swampy Britpop that achieves profundity only when you’re filthy, sunburned and four pints deep at Glastonbury. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, of course, but you’ll forgive me for finding Gallagher’s arrogance – no matter how performative, ironic or on-brand – slightly jarring. For some, C’mon You Know will no doubt be a balm: a return to the glory days of Oasis. Others may speculate on the value of writing 12 new, less exciting versions of “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. Not all music has to be deep, but this record isn’t fun or experimental either, which makes the whole exercise seem rather pointless.

The album opens with a heartfelt, spangled children’s choir on “More Power” in a self-aware nod to the Rolling Stones’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, before it unfolds into Gallagher’s trademark andante pace and meat-and-two-veg guitar band, which dominates the rest of the record.

Nestled among the sludge, C’mon You Know is at its best with the harmonic jangling of “It Was Not Meant to Be” and folky optimism of “World’s in Need” – the two tracks, incidentally, that sound most like the Beatles. It momentarily picks up in the middle with a few chantable choruses. Title track “C’mon You Know” drives forward at a quicker pace, with vapidly optimistic, crowd-pleasing lyrics – “You know it’s gonna be alright/And we’re gonna dance all night”. On “Everything’s Electric” there are syncopated piano riffs and some heady British summer energy, with twanging guitar solos and a satisfying stomp.

Although “being alright” and “dancing all night” are very post-Covid feelings, Gallagher was adamant that this wasn’t a “post-Covid” album – “Fuck that shit – I don’t want to fucking hear about [the pandemic] ever again, do you know what I mean?” he told NME. Fair enough, you might say, but it does knock the wind out of such sweeping lyrics, which are very quickly transformed from heart-warming collective sentiments to completely meaningless clichés.

Gallagher’s spicier moments – the kick drum chorus on “I’m Free”, the mournful nostalgia of closing track “Oh Sweet Children” – are a much-needed injection of life into what is otherwise a textbook exercise in drear. Sure, everyone will stomp around shouting and throwing drinks when Gallagher does his festival circuit this season, and sure, the diehards will be pleased at this full-length return to late-1990s form. The problem is that throughout C’mon You Know I was – to borrow a phrase that Gallagher used to describe his experience of that lockdown we’re not allowed to mention – “bored shitless”. 

[See also: Harry Styles review: Harry’s House is a summery, poolside record]

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