Written by Edward Burnett
This week Liam Gallagher has released his third and presumably final single ahead of the release of his second solo album, Why Me? Why Not. The track, entitled Once, is a slow and heartfelt ballad which can be seen as a wakeup call to normality. Starting with the style, the song is very reminiscent of former Beatles’ frontman John Lennon’s vocal traits. For example, the nasally and prolonged way in which Gallagher sings “easier” in the song’s opening line is extremely similar to that of Lennon’s Jealous Guy and Stand By Me. This helps to bring a suitable tone to such a delicate topic, a topic which has moved away from the loud, rocky showmanship shown in earlier hits such as Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and Wall of Glass, showing a new sense of maturity in Gallagher’s approach.
This leads directly onto how the single’s lyrics and overall subject matter can be interpreted. One such line which helps depict this above-mentioned reality check is in the first verse with Gallagher bemoaning having to “just clean the pool and take the kids to school”. A personal swimming pool in England can be seen as representing the lavish lifestyle of a star, such as Liam’s time in Oasis where immaturity and having a good time were put to the forefront. This is perfectly demonstrated in Gallagher previously saying that “I know how to behave but sometimes I can’t be bothered”. Yet as the song mentions, only relics, such as the swimming pool, exist now of such a maxed-out lifestyle and climate of high global success. Along with normality resuming post-stardom, there are now responsibilities in the form of children, documented in the second part of the line. For anyone who has seen this year’s docu-film, As it Was (which portrays life after Oasis for Liam), it is obvious that family is pivotal to the rock star’s life, this credibly shown by his recent rekindling of his relationship with estranged daughter Molly Moorish. Therefore, the line acts as a clear reminder of this change of surroundings once the realisation of responsibility has finally kicked in. He’s now left in a far more mature situation with the mundane tasks of cleaning and school runs which evidently creates a lust to go back and do it all again but as the song goes on to state and repeat, “you only get to do it once”.
However, as the quality and originality of this track demonstrates that, alongside the other pre-released singles Shockwave and The River, Liam is getting a second chance at the big-time. Following the end of Oasis in 2009 and the largely unsuccessful formation of Beady Eye in its absence, you may have been forgiven for viewing Liam’s time being relevant and prominent on the rock and roll stage as very much up. Yet, this second coming with a revitalised career thanks to going solo back in 2017 is only getting more impressive with these 2019 releases, showing that in Gallagher’s case, you get to do it anything but once. As you were.