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Artist: Paul Weller

Paul Weller

Bio

Paul Weller (born 25 May 1958) is an English singer / songwriter, leader of two successful bands: The Jam and The Style Council. In England, he is recognised as something of a national institution yet, because much of his songwriting is rooted in English culture, he has remained essentially a national rather than an international star. Weller's eleventh studio album, Sonik Kicks, was released on 19 March 2012. The Green Songfacts reports that it was recorded in Weller’s own Black Barn Studios in Ripley, Surrey, with co-producer Simon Dine and engineer Charles Rees. Born John William Weller in Stanley Road, Woking, he was also a central figure in the Mod revival. As the leader of the Jam, Paul Weller fronted the most popular British band of the punk era, influencing legions of English rockers that ranged from his mod-revival contemporaries to the Smiths in the '80s and Oasis in the '90s. During the final days of the Jam, he developed a fascination with Motown and soul, which led him to form the sophisti-pop group the Style Council in 1983. As the Style Council's career progressed, Weller's interest in soul developed into an infatuation with jazz-pop and house music, which eventually led to gradual erosion of his audience — by 1990, he couldn't get a record contract in the UK, where he had previously been worshipped as a demi-god. As a solo artist, Weller returned to soul music as an inspiration, cutting it with the progressive, hippie tendencies of Traffic. Weller's solo records were more organic and rootsier than the Style Council, which helped him regain his popularity within Britain. By the mid-'90s, he had released three successful albums which were both critically-acclaimed and massively popular in England, where contemporary bands like Ocean Colour Scene were citing him as an influence. Just as importantly, many observers, while occasionally criticizing the trad-rock nature of his music, acknowledged that Weller was one of the few rock veterans that had managed to stay vital within the second decade of his career. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.
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News

Paul Weller, Dragonfly - EP Review - Contact Music (Reviews)

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Paul Weller's new EP Dragonfly is essentially a victory lap. Following his trilogy of experimental albums that concluded with Sonik Kicks earlier...

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Articles

Paul Weller: Wild Wood (Go! Discs) NME, Jan 1994

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SOMETHING TO mull over. Paul Weller has been having hit records for 16 years. Wild Wood – the follow-up to his wildly-underrated debut solo outing – is his 12th studio album. So why is there a sudden frantic rush to discuss his relevance? Why, after all these years, has he re-emerged as a mod talisman draped over fashion mag centerfolds?

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Quite simple really. Having failed to disband The Style Council on time (a mistake, by his own admission), Paul Weller seemed to be at a point where his greatest songs were in the far distance, tangled up in The jam and the politicised rush of Our Favourite Shop. He seemed to have become an anachronism, a man in a silver suit grumbling about "making music for people my own age".

All of which made ‘Sunflower’ so amazing. Here was a man seemingly rejuvenated, recovered from his cod-soul illness and newly hooked on The Small Faces (circa ‘The Universal’ this time), Nick Drake, and Crosby, Stills And Nash. He seemed to have crash-landed back in the six months following The Jam’s ‘Tales From The Riverbank’; folkier, wiser and desperate to re-establish himself as a songwriter.

Which leads us to Wild Wood. ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Can You Heal Us (Holy Man)’ rattle along on the back of distorted guitar and, erm, gospel-funk respectively, but it’s the title track that sets the tone, suggesting a pastoral take on Nick Drake’s ‘Chime Of The City Clock’, all strummed guitars and world-weary melancholia. ‘Pictures On The Wall’ is a marvelous acoustic thing that could have been lifted off The Best Of Bread, while ‘Has My Fire Really Gone Out’ is pure post-Springfield Neil Young, where the seeds of self-doubt ( "And if I opened my eyes/Would it then be morning?") get exploded in a final blitzkrieg of guitars.

‘Fifth Season’ sees him switch to that annoying bark first premiered on ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’, but normal service is resumed with ‘The Weaver’, bafflingly withdrawn as a single and glued together with Weller’s beast riff for centuries. ‘Shadow Of The Sun’, meanwhile, builds to a technicolour psych-out that recalls both last year’s ‘Bull Rush’ and the long-forgotten Humble Pie.

He leaves us with the remarkably schmaltzy ‘Moon On Your Pyjamas’ (a slightly cloying paean to one of his children), and an album three-quarters of the way to marking a complete rebirth. It’s not the absolute tour de force we may have hoped for, but it’s home to at least two songs (‘Sunflower’ and ‘The Weaver’) that would grace any retrospective. And how often can you say that 16 years into someone’s career?

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Top Albums

Stanley Road cover art

Stanley Road

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Wild Wood cover art

Wild Wood

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22 Dreams cover art

22 Dreams

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As Is Now

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Top Songs

You Do Something to Me cover art

You Do Something to Me

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Wild Wood

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The Changingman

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Broken Stones cover art

Broken Stones

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Sunflower cover art

Sunflower

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Out of the Sinking cover art

Out of the Sinking

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From the Floorboards Up cover art

From the Floorboards Up

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