by: Alden I. Bula
Album Review : More Modern Classics
Artist : Paul Weller
Genre : Rock
What do you get when you sing a song about a Keeper that waits for love? You have a fairy tale with a male point of view delivered like a rock song. As the former front man of “The Style Council,” it cannot be helped that Paul Weller will pay homage to his former band. That band, became a minor success during the eighties with hits like “Shout To The Top, You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened, and My Ever Changing Moods.” It is quite difficult to make an album review for his latest album without giving references to his eighties roots. This is due to uncanny resemblance of the first song in this record “He’s The Keeper,” with some of the songs that his former band recorded then.
The trend is even compounded with songs like “Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea,” which he sings about filling his love and turning dreams around. “Sweet Pea” was the baby cartoon character in Popeye series and is a great reference when you talk about going back to an old love to make you smile and live again. “It’s Written in Stars” is a gem of a record. It is quite a novelty when you listen to rock song that has horns as musical background. “Wishing on A Star” reminds you of easy listening rock songs which current rock artists do not usually create very often. By the time you reach “From The FloorBoards Up, Fast Car, and Slow Traffic” the eighties feel remains. This time, he is paying homage to punk music. While the lyrics are not as angry like that of Morrissey and The Smiths, the guitar background is more than enough to remember this genre.
Songs like “Come on Let’s Go, Have You Made Up Your Mind, Flame Out, All I Wanna Do Is Be With You, and Push It Along,” may not become rock classics in the tradition of “Stairway to Heaven or Hotel California,” at least the artist was not pretending that former songs are of the same league with latter songs. In “22 Dreams,” you might expect a “29 Palms” kind of songs; fortunately, he shied away from doing so. It is more like a Rolling Stone song. One of the characteristics of his songs from his previous bands was that there were always 60’s or 70’s type of music in the record. This album has also this kind of song in “No Tears To Cry” (feels like you are listening to Isley Brothers or The Spinner) and “The Attic.” Of course, no album of Paul Weller is complete without damning establishments. “Wake Up The Nation” fills the requirement.
However, the whole record was quite compromise with song like “Starlite” (might caught you by surprise thinking that this is a Duran Duran reject), “The Dangerous Age” (which is quite as pop as what he used to sing during “Style Council” days), “When Your Garden’s Overgrown” (quite a confusing song; may he doesn’t have an idea what to make of this song; reggae or rock song?), and “Brand New Toy” (more like a filler music.) No album is perfect. It is all about listeners’ sensibilities to appreciate the music in it. Paul Weller’s latest endeavour, is something that you can appreciate when radio and internet is loaded with R and B and EDM music. I rate this album 4 stars out of 5 stars.