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Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Paul Weller deservedly regained his status as the Modfather with his second solo album, Wild Wood. Actually, the album is only tangentially related to mod, since Weller picks up on the classicism of his debut, adding heavy elements of pastoral British folk and Traffic-styled trippiness. Add to that a yearning introspection and a clean production that nevertheless feels a little rustic, even homemade, and the result is his first true masterwork since ending the Jam. The great irony of the record is that many of the songs -- "Has My Fire Really Gone Out?," "Can You Heal Us (Holy Man)" -- question his motivation and, as is apparent in his spirited performances, he reawakened his music by writing these searching songs. Though this isn't as adventurous as the Style Council, it succeeds on its own terms, and winds up being a great testament from an artist entering middle age. And, it helped kick off the trad rock that dominated British music during the '90s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Parlophone UK

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As the icon of a generation, a bona fide star since his beginnings with the Jam, the Modfather has always inspired and fascinated fans, even just with his haircut! And in the year of his 60th birthday, Paul Weller is still giving his best. As always… Made up for the most part of acoustic songs, True Meanings, his 26th album (the 14th in solo), is far removed from his 2015 Saturns Pattern. Here, Weller seems to take a step back and reflect. He goes back to something extremely simple, straightforward, a floral and poetic album. As if the recording took place in a flowery meadow on a summer evening for an audience of insomniac romantics. Introspection is under way. The British artist studies the elements around him, dwells on his memories, sings a fanciful tribute to Bowie, all without omitting his distortions between jazz and soul…True Meanings in itself is a Wellerian praise of ballad. It starts nicely and slowly with a guitar theme, before being wrapped in violins and background vocals. It’s an absolute delight to hear the Modfather live up to his seventies masterpieces like English Rose and Liza Radley. Even though Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler are no longer by his side in the studio, Paul Weller has always managed to surround himself with talent, as illustrated by the guests on True Meanings: Rod Argent from the Zombies (The Soul Searchers), Lucy Rose (Books), Tom Doyle (Movin On) and even a small appearance of Noel Gallagher on White Horses… A calm, laidback voice that fits perfectly with the few compositions of songwriter Erland Cooper from the band Erland and the Carnival. Two lyricists for an album that discreetly and subtly draws from genres, like this invention of a glam-rock picking ballad: Mayfly. A beautiful reference to T. Rex’s Get It On, without the glitter of course. No doubt about it, Paul Weller is a “Changingman” with delicate taste. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
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Pop - Released July 3, 2020 | Polydor Records

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Finding a balance between his musical obsessions from the ‘60s – pop and soul – and his avant-garde ambitions has always been somewhat of a dilemma for Paul Weller, from his earlier punk years as the lead singer of The Jam to his shift to soul music with Style Council and his complete 360° turnaround in 1992 when he embarked on his solo career. For his 15th opus, On Sunset, the Modfather slaloms through more genres than ever, showing off a jamboree of styles from pop, psychedelic and rock to folk, easy listening and predominantly, soul. As a proper mod worthy of his title, Weller, of course, knows all of its various forms and is a fan of all of them, from Northern soul to Motown and blue-eyed-soul. But in On Sunset, the songs are mostly of the pop genre, polished, diverse, well arranged and reminiscent of the sounds of other great musicians, such as Equanimity which sounds like an unlikely fusion between The Kinks and Bowie. The Modfather arms himself with acoustic and electronic instruments, vintage synths, funky brass and full orchestra, switching from intimate to grandiose (Rockets), and from mainstream to experimental at the drop of a hat. Even when it comes to the guests that feature on the album, Weller has cast his net wide, with appearances from Steve Cradock, from the former band Ocean Colour Scene whom he has worked with for years, his old pal Mick Talbot from Style Council who returns with his Hammond organ on three of the tracks and Julie Gros from the band Le SuperHomard who sings in French on More. Also featured on the album are guitarist Josh McClorey from The Strypes, folk trio The Staves as well as R&B singer Col3trane. For those who know him well, this album will make total sense as the genius behind The Jam is simply up to his usual antics. For those who don't, this album may leave them feeling a little disorientated… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 8, 2019 | Parlophone UK

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The 18-year-old Paul Weller who recorded the very first Jam single, In the City, in March of 1997 would probably be amused to see himself at age 59 surrounded by a large orchestra in front of a (seated) audience at the Royal Albert Hall one evening in October 2018… The life - or rather lives - of the Modfather merit a certain artistic integrity that this British rock icon has always had. For this wonderfully crafted live album, Weller focused on songs from True Meanings, his beautiful, melancholic soul-folk record released a month before the concert, which he mixes in with other tracks from The Jam (Private Hell, Tales from the Riverbank), Style Council (Have you Ever Had it Blue) and particularly from his other solo albums (Wild Wood, You do Something to Me…). Superbly arranged specifically for the concert, these versions find an organic power thanks to his warmth and sincere rapport with the London audience. This album is specially made live album for fans of the Modfather. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

In many ways, Stanley Road is Wild Wood, Pt. 2, a continuation of the laid-back, soul-inflected rock that dominated his previous albums. Named after the street where he grew up, Stanley Road could be seen as a return to Paul Weller's roots, yet his roots were in the Who and the Kinks, not in Traffic. (At this point, the sound of the Jam matters little in what this music sounds like.) Weller's music has always had R&B roots -- the major difference with both Wild Wood and Stanley Road is how much he and his band stretch out. Stanley Road in particular features more jamming than any of his previous work. That doesn't mean he has neglected his songwriting -- a handful of Weller classics are scattered throughout the album. Unfortunately, too much of it is spent on drawn-out grooves that are self-conscious about their own authenticity. Still, he has the good sense to revive Dr. John's "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" and invite his disciple Noel Gallagher (Oasis) along to jam. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Arriving between the implosion of the Style Council and the commercial comeback of Wild Wood, Paul Weller’s eponymous 1992 debut is sometimes overlooked, but it’s one of his finest records, a smooth, soulful excursion pitched precisely between the sophisticated swing of the Style Council and the rustic rock of Wild Wood. In the wake of the disastrous unreleased house album from Style Council, Weller chose to dig into his roots, relying heavily on Curtis Mayfield records and a dash of Traffic’s jazz lilt, creating a cool groove of an album, one that warmed well to light elements of acid house, whether it’s the extended coda of “Kosmos” or the many remixes of the album’s singles (all collected on Universal’s 2009 double-disc deluxe edition). As pure sound, Paul Weller is seductive -- it’s supple and relaxed, easing into its vamps and rhythms, maintaining its tone through shifts of tempos -- but it sticks because its Weller’s best set of songs in years, anchored by the tight opening rocker “Uh-Huh Oh Yeh,” the soulful lament “I Didn’t Mean to Hurt You,” the insistent pulse of “Bull Rush,” the gorgeous shimmer of “Bitterness Rising,” and the revitalizing rush of “Into Tomorrow.” Every one of these songs bears traces of Weller’s decade-long immersion in soul, but what makes it a leap forward is that no matter how familiar some of this feels -- and there really is no mistaking the lasting impression of Mayfield -- it all plays not as recycled but synthesized, Weller creating something new and true from his inspiration. He would soon underscore the rock and folk elements, quite wonderfully so, on Wild Wood, but everything here laid the groundwork for the third act of Weller’s career and it remains compelling and alluring in its own right. Generous as it may be, the deluxe edition doesn’t exactly deliver a lot of surprises for the hardcore Weller collector, but that’s only because this well has been tapped many times over, with all the stray tracks appearing as bonus discs in various territories, or as part of B-sides collections -- everything except an album-specific expansion, which this 2009 double-disc set is. Weller’s 1992 eponymous debut grows by 25 tracks here, with all the B-sides -- including “Fly on the Wall,” the lengthy jam “That Spiritual Feeling,” and a prescient cover of Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” that pointed the way toward Wild Wood -- spread over the two discs, along with a hefty dose of demos, alternate and acoustic versions, and the Lynch Mob beats remix of “Kosmos” that helped bolster his ties to Britain’s underground club scene. Again, none of this material is unreleased, but this may be the best way to hear it all, as it’s presented in historical context, and it’s sequenced in a smooth, entertaining sequence that enhances this already excellent album, turning it into a richer experience. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2017 | Parlophone UK

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Paul Weller made a name for himself young (he was only 18 when he brought out the first Jam album, In The City, on 20 May 1977!), so his career and his discography have an unusual density. At 59, the indispensable Modfather is still going! Just as well. With A Kind Revolution, Weller offers a belligerence and a creativity that remain just as impressive even though, strictly speaking, he no longer has anything to prove. This thirteenth solo album from the man who was the brains behind the Jam and the Style Council is less experimental than its predecessor  Saturns Pattern, which sailed from Traffic to Love, via Captain Beefheart and Tame Impala... This time, Weller is getting back to rock'n'roll basics. The tone is set by Woo Sé Mama whose choirs boast two cult queens of the 60s and 70s: Madeline Bell and P.P Arnold ! Other guests come to pay homage: the great Robert Wyatt (She Moves With The Fayre), who has already worked with Weller in the past; but also, more surprisingly, Boy George, who comes in for a groovy, languorous duet (One Tear) and, on several tracks, the new guitarist from the Strypes, Josh McClorey. We can leave  Kind Revolution saying that, forty years after her career began, Paul Weller still knows how to do Paul Weller... © MZ/Qobuz
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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Wrapping up his contractual commitment to Go! Records, Paul Weller delivered Modern Classics: Greatest Hits, his first compilation of solo material, late in 1998. Modern Classics plays it safe, collecting all of his singles and adding a fine new song, "Brand New Start," which may not at first seem live up to its title, but eventually reveals itself to be a weightier ballad variation of the trad rock of Heavy Soul. Regrettably, the album is not sequenced in chronological order, but there was a consistency to Weller's solo work that makes the compilation hold together well. And while it certainly confirms that his solo work is easily his most conservative music to date, it also proves that it wasn't slight -- these singles are uniformly solid, whether it's the driving "Into Tomorrow," the rugged soul-pop of "Uh-Huh Oh-Yeh," the passionate "Sunflower," the ersatz ELO tribute "The Changingman," or ballads like "Broken Stones" and "Mermaids." Like Snap! and The Singular Adventures of the Style Council, Modern Classics is a testament to Weller's strength as a singles artist and a terrifically enjoyable listen in its own right. [The U.K. edition of Modern Classics included a bonus live disc, culled from various shows, which was every bit as good as Live Wood.] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Paul Weller deservedly regained his status as the Modfather with his second solo album, Wild Wood. Actually, the album is only tangentially related to mod, since Weller picks up on the classicism of his debut, adding heavy elements of pastoral British folk and Traffic-styled trippiness. Add to that a yearning introspection and a clean production that nevertheless feels a little rustic, even homemade, and the result is his first true masterwork since ending the Jam. The great irony of the record is that many of the songs -- "Has My Fire Really Gone Out?," "Can You Heal Us (Holy Man)" -- question his motivation and, as is apparent in his spirited performances, he reawakened his music by writing these searching songs. Though this isn't as adventurous as the Style Council, it succeeds on its own terms, and winds up being a great testament from an artist entering middle age. And, it helped kick off the trad rock that dominated British music during the '90s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Like Stanley Road before it, Heavy Soul is more about vibe than songs. There are a few sharply written tracks here and there, but what's important is the rootsy, stripped-down atmosphere. Paul Weller's soul and R&B influences reign supreme on Heavy Soul, yet they are filtered through late-'60s psychedelia, blues-rock and prog folk, as he takes songs into extended instrumental jams. The band sounds tight, but Weller has suffered a bit of a songwriting slump, which is evidenced by the handful of keepers that form the core of the album. "Up in Suze's Room" is a hazy, folky gem, the soulful apology "I Should Have Been There to Inspire You" is affecting, and "Peacock Suit" is a fine "Changing Man" rewrite, but too much of Heavy Soul is concerned with texture instead of content. That doesn't make it a difficult listen -- in fact, it's quite entertaining while it's playing -- but there isn't much to explore on repeated plays. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 7, 2020 | Polydor Records

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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
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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

For Studio 150, his seventh solo studio album, Paul Weller delivers his first official covers album. Not that he's been reluctant to cover other songwriters, of course. Throughout his career, he's made covers a staple of his records and concerts. In fact, he cut so many as B-sides in the '90s that his 2003 B-sides and rarities compilation Fly on the Wall had a whole disc devoted to material from other songwriters. Studio 150 feels like a sister album to that disc, and not just because it shares a similar sensibility and has songs by both Tim Hardin and Neil Young. Musically, Studio 150 sounds as if it could have been recorded in 1995 as the missing link between Stanley Road and Heavy Soul, containing the swinging mod vibe of the former with the tough, muscular punch of the latter. While it could be argued that Weller is treading water, or even retreating after the subtle shifts forward on Illumination, it's almost a moot point since the band sounds terrific and he's in fine voice. Plus, this is a covers album and innovation isn't exactly expected on covers albums. What is expected is that the artist puts his own signature on songs from another writer, and Weller does that. True, as a whole Studio 150 doesn't sound all that different from other records in his catalog, but he's managed to find new spins on perennials like "Close to You" and "All Along the Watchtower," interpretations that fit within his signature blend of '70s soul, mod pop, and singer/songwriter introspection. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the album consists of songs from the late '60s and '70s, with selections from singer/songwriters like Tim Hardin, Gil Scott-Heron, Gordon Lightfoot, and Neil Young sitting comfortably next to relatively obscure soul and disco singles (with a previously unrecorded song from Weller disciple Noel Gallagher blending into the surroundings nicely). Some of these songs are familiar, but these arrangements are distinctly Weller's own, and it makes for an effective listen -- maybe not a major effort from the Modfather, but an enjoyable one all the same. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

The 2014 British box set Classic Albums Selection houses the first five solo albums from Paul Weller -- Paul Weller, Wild Wood, Stanley Road, Heavy Soul, Heliocentric -- all presented in mini-LP cardboard sleeves. There are no bonus tracks, no new remastering, no extra text: it's just a nice, affordable way to get five strong albums at good price. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Virgin EMI

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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
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Rock - Released October 8, 2001 | Independiente

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Pop - Released January 1, 2000 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Heliocentric is a lighter affair than the doggedly traditional Heavy Soul. It may be a subtle distinction, since he's using the same musical template he has since Wild Wood, plus the same producer and many of the same musicians. So, Heliocentric sounds very familiar, yet when it reaches its conclusion with the melancholy psychedelic sweep of "Love-Less," it's clear that it feels a lot different than its two immediate predecessors -- it's of a similar quality and emotional tenor as Wild Wood. It's also his strongest record since then, a remarkably sturdy and varied set of songs and performances. Sadness and regret are scattered throughout the album, but there's also humor, affection, and, ultimately, optimism -- three qualities missing on Heavy Soul. Heliocentric has many more musical quirks than its predecessor. Strings grace several songs, plus there are extended jams so psychedelic they're almost prog. There really aren't any rockers, but there's the wonderfully jaunty acoustic number "Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea," one of his most unaffected and, well, sweetest songs. "A Whale's Tale" is his own spin on a sea ballad, while "Back in the Fire" rolls along on a nearly jazzy beat. Those ever-changing moods keep the record fresh and interesting, yet Heliocentric still winds up sounding part of a piece, since Weller is focused here, as a songwriter and a record-maker, which he hasn't been since Wild Wood. Like that latter-day Weller masterpiece, Heliocentric grows stronger with each spin, as the songs catch hold and details in the production and nuances in the performances reveal themselves. That may not constitute a new direction for Weller, but it's certainly a terrific record that signals a creative rebirth, which is the next best thing. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 10, 2001 | Craft Recordings

Despite the unplugged boon of the '90s, Paul Weller steadfastly refused to succumb to the acoustic trend until the decade rolled over into the new millennium, and he did a solo tour shortly after the release of his fifth solo album, Heliocentric. This actually turns out to be a blessing in disguise, since Weller sounds relaxed and ready to confront his daunting back catalog, as happy to perform Jam tunes as he is to revisit his solo signatures. This results in a better solo live album than imaginable, since Weller is not only relaxed, he's loose and animated, giving an added dimension not just to his old Jam warhorses but from later Weller favorites. But the best thing about this album is that it sounds intimate and alive, as if he was performing his favorite songs in your living room -- an immediacy that's more apparent in these stripped-down arrangements than they are in full-fledged band versions. This doesn't necessarily result in an album that's packed in revelations for the doubters, but if you've spent any time with Weller's career, from the Jam to his solo albums, this will be a warm reminder of why you've grown with Weller -- and why it was worth it to devote the time. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 11, 2015 | Parlophone UK

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Parlophone UK

As the icon of a generation, a bona fide star since his beginnings with the Jam, the Modfather has always inspired and fascinated fans, even just with his haircut! And in the year of his 60th birthday, Paul Weller is still giving his best. As always… Made up for the most part of acoustic songs, True Meanings, his 26th album (the 14th in solo), is far removed from his 2015 Saturns Pattern. Here, Weller seems to take a step back and reflect. He goes back to something extremely simple, straightforward, a floral and poetic album. As if the recording took place in a flowery meadow on a summer evening for an audience of insomniac romantics. Introspection is under way. The British artist studies the elements around him, dwells on his memories, sings a fanciful tribute to Bowie, all without omitting his distortions between jazz and soul…True Meanings in itself is a Wellerian praise of ballad. It starts nicely and slowly with a guitar theme, before being wrapped in violins and background vocals. It’s an absolute delight to hear the Modfather live up to his seventies masterpieces like English Rose and Liza Radley. Even though Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler are no longer by his side in the studio, Paul Weller has always managed to surround himself with talent, as illustrated by the guests on True Meanings: Rod Argent from the Zombies (The Soul Searchers), Lucy Rose (Books), Tom Doyle (Movin On) and even a small appearance of Noel Gallagher on White Horses… A calm, laidback voice that fits perfectly with the few compositions of songwriter Erland Cooper from the band Erland and the Carnival. Two lyricists for an album that discreetly and subtly draws from genres, like this invention of a glam-rock picking ballad: Mayfly. A beautiful reference to T. Rex’s Get It On, without the glitter of course. No doubt about it, Paul Weller is a “Changingman” with delicate taste. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz