© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
Narrow my search
Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)
Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Parlophone UK
Pop - Released May 14, 2021 | Polydor Records
Pop - Released July 3, 2020 | Polydor Records
Alternative & Indie - Released March 8, 2019 | Parlophone UK
Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2017 | Parlophone UK
Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Pop - Released January 1, 1994 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Teenage rock & rollers often don't last. Certainly, they rarely keep performing into middle age, but Paul Weller has never been ordinary. From the outset, Weller was different -- too tense, too difficult to fit into the crowd even when he was the most popular musician in Britain, as he was when he led the Jam at the turn of the '80s. That ornery side gave his music an edge and also gave it a riveting humanity that earned him a passionate, devoted audience who stuck with him through a roller coaster of ups and downs in his career, from his abrupt disbandment of the Jam to form the slick, soulful Style Council to his comeback as the trad-rocking Modfather in the '90s. It's one of the great careers of the post-punk era, and the four-disc 2006 box set Hit Parade is the first attempt to tell it in its entirety, from the bright, brilliant early years of the Jam to his role as an elder statesman in the new millennium. Given the great wealth of music that Weller made during these three decades, the compilers picked the simplest and best solution to whittling down his rich, complicated career to the basics: they picked the A-sides of all of his British singles. This means that there are great songs left behind -- whether it's the Jam B-side "Tales from the Riverbank" or the soulful "Can You Heal Us (Holy Man)" from Wild Wood -- but that's the nature of hits compilations: great songs get left behind. What's impressive with Hit Parade is not what's absent but what's present, which is not only enough to make a case for Weller's strengths as a songwriter and restless rocker, but which helps explain the transitions in his career in a way that may be revelatory even for longtime fans. For instance, in this context the stylized café-soul of the Style Council seems like a natural outgrowth of the high-octane Motown-pop of the last Jam singles, and while it's hard to argue that the Style Council didn't drift in its latter years, it's easier to hear how revitalized Weller was as a solo artist when "Into Tomorrow" follows the fallow final gasps of the Council. Then again, by trimming his career down to the singles, the weak patches in his career aren't as evident: even when Weller's albums were patchy, the singles were often strong, and when they're taken together they aren't just an enjoyable, exciting listen, they tell one of the greatest stories in rock history, one that provides revelations even to those who have been with him since the beginning. And that's what makes Hit Parade a truly great box set. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)
Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | EMI
An explicit sequel to his first solo hits collection, Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits, 2014's More Modern Classics covers more ground than its 1998 predecessor, packing in 15 years and seven studio albums into its 21 tracks. There are more songs here but not necessarily more hits. The last time Weller cracked the U.K. Top Ten was in 2005, when the coiled "From the Floorboards Up" went to six, but the upper reaches of the charts were rarefied territory for Weller in the new millennium; "It's Written in the Stars" reached number seven in 2001, "Wishing on a Star" from 2004's covers album Studio 150 went to 11, but singles from his celebrated critical comebacks of 2008-2012 -- the trio of LPs that included 22 Dreams, Wake Up the Nation, and Sonik Kicks -- went no further than 19, and by the time the 2010s rolled around, breaking into the Top 40 was a difficult task. This lack of big hits hardly diminishes More Modern Classics, which contains almost all the A-sides he released during these 15 years (a few singles from Studio 150 are understandably left behind, as is anything that could be called a digital single), plus the new singles "Flame-Out!" and "Brand New Toy." Weller may have had bigger hits in his first decade of solo stardom but these second 15 years often produced richer music. The earliest records covered here -- 2000's Heliocentric and 2002's Illumination -- sound bigger and wilder than his popular peak circa Stanley Road, and then when his commonly accepted comeback kicks in via 2008's "Echoes Round the Sun," Weller starts taking risks, opening himself up to new sonic vistas without abandoning the signature he created on Wild Wood. This shift was apparent on the studio albums, but condensed into a 21-track compilation, Weller's new millennial work sounds all the more startling, and it also sounds like an addictive jukebox filled with crackling 7" singles. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
Pop - Released May 14, 2021 | Polydor Records
Rock - Released January 10, 2001 | Craft Recordings