Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Barely a whisper here, but still top of the heap in Jolly Ol', Weller is now old enough to be a beloved English character.  Every utterance is newsworthy, and every new album scrutinized for high quality, which is usually there.  This is the second set of his better songs since going solo from The Jam and The Style Council, and reflects the various versions of his very British styles since 1999. 

You have Weller the soul man, his favourite pose, but perhaps the hardest to take at times.  He doesn't have Curtis Mayfield's voice, and while the music side is always groove-worthy, his gruff vocals might be the very reason he has virtually no following in North America.  Then there's Britpop Grandpop, where Weller shows the little rotters how to write English rock and roll and not just copy The Beatles.  Pastoral Paul was the sound that brought him back to the top, that very British thing of acknowledging the folk side of things, getting out of the city and writing about trees and grassy places.  And every so often, you'll get a whiff of the old Jammy Paul, when he wants to act partially punky. 

That's my favourite, and you'll find it here on Push It Along, and even more so on Come On/Let's Go.  Some of the more celebrated songs here (at least in the U.K.) seem busy and big for no reason, such as 22 Dreams, which shamelessly takes its cue from the old Electric Prunes hit I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).  Wake Up The Nation is a kind of dumb chant, punk by numbers for what's left of that generation.  Fast Car/Slow Traffic is Small Faces experimentation, but The Small Faces did that in '67.  While almost everything falls on the good side, it's hard to get excited by Weller's output, especially when there are British giants such as The Kinks and even Billy Bragg worthy of more fans here.

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