earthings! 2017: My ten favorites of the year

Here’s more proof that I am starting to fall by the wayside, at least when it comes to listening to the songs I’m apparently supposed to listen to and like, here’s a relatively pop-centric list of my ten favorite songs for 2017. I attribute it to the fact that I may have listened more to my K-pop library this year (it does have some therapeutic claims) and that things seem to blend with each other more this year than in previous years. In a way, it’s a good thing: finally, some parity between the slickly produced and the more down-to-earth ones. But some will say this is me selling out. Nah, nobody is saying that. Nobody cares about this thing, yes? But we have to put it out, like everybody else, so here, in alphabetical order, are my ten favorite songs of the year. [NB]

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Review: As You Were by Liam Gallagher

As You Were by Liam GallagherWell, expectations for this one were high. Well, perhaps it’s because of the things Liam Gallagher says – ridiculous, straightforward, punchy and full of charisma. The former Oasis frontman has been somewhat adrift since the band split up, with two records under Beady Eye attempting to, but not quite succeeding in, starting some kind of spark. Maybe now that he’s going solo, we can get something like his public statements. But then, Liam isn’t the songwriter, so a solo record was always going to be interesting – what exactly will he do here? As You Were sees him try anyway, but the record feels unmemorable – a bit like a rehash of his glory years. Shame, as first single “Wall of Glass” benefits from being such an assault on the senses, the lush Wall of Sound-esque production being quite a statement of intent from Liam. But then that song was co-written with Andrew Wyatt (from Miike Snow) and Greg Kurstin (from the Bird and the Bee and a lot of producer credits), among others. His standout tracks are when he gets an assist: “For What It’s Worth” soars nicely, while “Chinatown” comes close to approximating his charisma, no mean feat considering Liam did not write it at all. As for the rest, you can like it, but you may skip through it. Liam still adrift, then – but with style. [NB]3/5

“Have we decided if we like being part of the plan?”

“Flick of the Finger” by Beady Eye | I’ve always been a Noel Gallagher person over a Liam Gallagher person. I don’t know. I just preferred his voice, and I’ve always loved “Don’t Look Back In Anger”. But I’m glad Liam and the rest of what was Oasis managed to reinvent themselves, more or less, when they regrouped as Beady Eye. It was going to be hit and miss, but their first album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was a laudable effort. Now their sophomore release, BE, is due, and the first single off it plays with the same reinvention riff: that slightly happier, more jubilant sound, with added horns and 60s-ish riffs. But the influence of Dave Sitek – he produced this album – shows: “Flick of the Finger” surprisingly has less of the excess. A little focusing of the energy would do no one harm, of course.