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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
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Film Soundtracks - Released March 10, 2017 | Parlophone UK

Thomas Napper's Jawbone is a British independent film about a former youth boxing champ who returns home in an effort to rebuild himself after hitting a personal low. It's a quasi-autobiographical effort from its lead actor Johnny Harris -- who also wrote the film and co-produced it -- and he's the guy who brought Paul Weller into the project. Weller has done a lot in his career, but he's never composed a soundtrack, so Jawbone is noteworthy for that reason alone, but it's also interesting because it doesn't follow conventional paths for soundtracks. Jawbone is a hybrid between long-form orchestrations, sculpted songs, and ambient soundscapes, a broad sonic panorama that also reflects many of Weller's strengths. The songs "The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe" and "Bottle" hail back to "English Rose," while "Jawbone" simmers to funky wah-wah rhythms and swaths of psychedelic guitars. These grab the attention -- the other three short selections are essentially incidental music, even "Jawbone Training" with its hyperactive hi-hats -- but the album's centerpiece is its opener, "Jimmy/Blackout," a 21-minute suite that builds from atmospheric electronics to a shimmering sung denouement from Weller. If "Jimmy/Blackout" drifts instead of commands attention, that's the point: like so many of the best soundtracks, it's mood music to be absorbed and felt, not heard. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rock - Released September 22, 2017 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released July 2, 2002 | Epic

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
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Rock - Released January 10, 2001 | Craft Recordings

Film Soundtracks - Released January 27, 2017 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released March 30, 2017 | Parlophone UK

Rock - Released March 30, 2017 | Parlophone UK

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