after advice from Tiggi, i have made this a 'beginners guide to Paul Weller'. from the music of the Jam, through The Style Council and beyond to his solo years,thread will consist of reviews of all studio albums released since 1977 up to the present,at the end of each 'era' i will include run through of all non-album singles with links to most tracks,where available, most links will be live versions,where possible as Weller has always been a better live artist than a studio artist, where solo live versions exist of Jam, TSC tracks i will use those because of the advances in quality over the last 20 or so yrs. feel free to comment on anythind you see or hear here....enjoy!
THE JAM "In The City" 1977. vinyl/cd
its amazing how time flies as you get older,thus, i cant believe that this album is 33 years old. it was The Jam's debut set and from the first strikes Paul weller makes on his Rickenbacker on the opening track 'art school' you know you're in for almost forty minutes of 'power'. it is relentless, like the debuts of the Sex Pistols/Clash, also from 1977, possibly all three releases are the three best debut albums from the later half of the 70's,certainly by groups from the UK.
although the music is powerful and raw in the 'punk' sense of the word, the music is more sophisticated than the standard three chords used by the punk bands of the day, ie..the songs contain 'middle 8s'.
The Jam too, although closely related to punk,were smart dressers like their Mod idols of the 1960s.
Vocally and lyrically the songs are slightly immature,due to the fact of singer/songwriter Paul Weller's age(19).
ten of the twelve tracks are Weller originals,the remaining two tracks, 'batman theme' and 'slow down' are Who and Larry Williams covers, respectively. 'non-stop dancing',even though is loud and heavy has distinct resemblences to Motown, another of Paul Weller's influences.
the subject matter deals with, urban decay, street life, not dissimilar to those of Ray Davies.
the album reached #20 UK, 'in the city' #40 UK.
I LIKE THIS ALBUM
2.i've changed my address**
4.i got by in time**
5.away from the numbers**
7.in the city**
8.sounds from the street**
10.time for truth**
11.takin' my love**
12.bricks and mortar**
THE JAM "this is the modern world' 1977. vinyl/cd
The Jam's second album, and their second album released in 1977, this album could have been so much better. the basic chord/melody structure of the songs was good but i feel as if they are incomplete....thanks to Polygram Records insisting The Jam rush back into the studio after their debut set to record another album....then Polygram had the balls to threaten dropping The Jam because it wasnt as good as it should have been.
there is only one great song on this album, 'standards', six good ones and five dud tracks. maybe its just the years that ends in '7'? because the style concil released the rubbish 'the cost of loving' in 1987 and Paul Weller released 'heavy soul' in 1997,which was also crap.
thankfully he didnt releae an album in 2007! LOL
this albums music is a lot less 'punkish' than 'in the city' and owes its sound to more of the Kinks and the Who 1965-68 sound.
Paul Weller wrote nine of these tracks,bass player Bruce Foxton wrote and sung on two of the tracks and there is one cover version....
Wilson Picket's 'midnight hour',PW's fascination/influence of soul music still exists to this day.
Foxton's 'dont tell them youre sane' was written after he saw the Nicholson movie 'one flew over the cookoos nest'. the album also contains paul weller's first two REAL love songs: 'tonight at noon' & 'i need you(for someone),lovely songs,just not finished to what they could have been.
the album reached #22 UK, the single 'the modern world' #36 UK.
I DO NOT LIKE THIS ALBUM!
best track: Standards
worst track: The Combine
1. the modern world**
2. london traffic*
4.life from a window*
5. the combine*
6. dont tell them you're sane*
7. in the street today*
8. london girl*
9. i need you(for someone)**
10. here comes the weekend**
11. tonight at noon**
12. in the midnight hour**
THE JAM "all mod cons" 1978.
The Jam's third album in eighteen months, and one that im sure messers Davies and Townshend would be proud to call their own!
Paul Weller's songwriting improved 1000% since the debut album,though originally it wasnt that way at all, as the original tracks laid down for this album were discarded as they werent an improvement on the second album. this album single handedly pretty much gave The Jam a contract for as long as they were willing to stay at Polygram Records, it was the album that Weller honed his lyrical and musical niche into a great songwriter, and the Jam as a great band.
11 of the 12 tracks were written by Weller,the remaining track, a Kinks cover(David Watts) sung by bassist Bruce Foxton. it was the first time PW songs dealt with 'charater' songs,something that Ray Davies did so brilliantly with the Kinks.
'english rose', a haunting ballad, is the best song on the album,and one that Weller still sings live now as a solo artist, and stands up well with his more recent music. theres songs cynical of the 9-5(mr.clean), about fame and its benefits-and loss of those benefits once it diminishes(to be someone). 'its too bad' is a lament love song in the vein of The Who's 'so sad about us'. 'tube station' is a song about Racism and racist attacks/bashings, the of the 'anarchic' theme 'a-bomb in wardour street'.if there is one Jam album everyone should listen to or buy,this is it.
the album reached #6 UK.
double 'a' side david watts b/w 'a' bomb in wardour street #25 UK
down in the tube station at midnight #15 UK
I LIKE THIS ALBUM
worst track: fly
best track: english rose
1.all mod cons**
2.to be someone(didnt we have a nice time)**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RMiY7PWcQg live/paul weller solo version
6.in the crowd***
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCiNbMxUKtQ live/paul weller solo version
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc2ZIQ-xp7o live/with 'a' bomb in wardour street & 'in the street today' from debut album
8.its too bad**
10.the place i love**
11.'a' bomb in wardour street**
12.down in the tube station at midnight***
THE JAM "Setting Sons" 1979 cd/vinyl.
the music on this album cranked up a gear from the more stripped down sound of 'all mod cons' but it couldnt be called 'punk' as it was too melodic.
'setting sons' originally started life as a concept album of three friends from childhood seperated by war only to reunite years later to find that their lives had taken them in different directions, and that the bonds they shared as boys were now torn apart by work/family committments,and that their 'blood-brothers' values had all but gone. Good idea, but due to time constraints and a looming recording schedule approaching, Weller had to finish writing quicker than he anticipated. so only 'thick as thieves', 'little boy soldiers', 'wasteland' and 'burning sky' have some sort of connected concept.
of the other songs: 'girl on the phone' deals with an obsessive fan. 'private hell' deals with the middle age crisis of a married woman whose children have left home, hubby is always working etc..so she gets through each day in a 'valium haze'. the only Bruce Foxton track on the album,and possibly the finest track he ever wrote is 'smithers-jones', the story of a man who has spent years being loyal to his employer, suddenly finding himself out of work. 'saturdays kids' deals with the issue of weekend pastimes of teenagers,both boys and girls. 'the eton rifles' is a call for arms for all working class people to revolt against the upper classes of class riddled England. the final track 'heatwave' is a cover of the Martha & the Vandellas motown classic. as a footnote, Mick Talbot of 'Merton Parkas' played keyboards on two tracks on this album, he would later join paul Weller in forming The Style Council.
overall it is a quality album by a vastly improving songwriter and vocalist.
the album reached #4 UK, #137 US. the single 'the eton rifles' became The jam's first UK top 10 hit peaking at #3.
worst track: no one track stands out as being bad
best track: Private Hell.
1.girl on the phone**
2.thick as thieves**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VQkUXq37-0&feature=fvsr audio with lyrics
4.little boy soldiers**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC4lPVfnOMY&feature=fvw audio with lyrics
9.the eton rifles**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwepDp9tG1I live,paul weller solo version
10.(love is like a)heatwave**
THE JAM "Sound Affects" 1980.
following the double 'a' side #1 single of "Goin' Underground b/w Dreams Of Children" in march of 1980 The Jam returned to the studio to record their fifth album since mid 1977.
the result was 'sound affects', an eleven track Beatle-esque sounding album inspired musically by the Fab Four's "Revolver" set, however, the initial thing that sticks out when listening to the album is the brilliant bass lines and percussion work of Buce Foxton and Rick Buckler. this is evident from the opning track 'pretty green' and carries through the best part of the album. Again, Weller's lyrics have improved to almost perfection, apart from the instrumental track 'music for the last couple' the album is very good,allbeit with a rewrite of the Beatles 'taxman' (start!).Weller's lyrics still deal with social issues, from the rise of fascism in europe to love.
he takes a swipe at John Lydon on 'scrape away' for being a pessimist and cynical about life. the song 'thats entertainment' reached #21 in the UK as an import from Germany.
the album reached #2 UK, #72 US, the single 'start!' #1 UK, #75US.
worst track: music for the last couple
best tracks: man in the cornershop & monday
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K058S...eature=related live/paul weller solo
3.but im different now**
4.set the house ablaze**
8.man in the cornershop***
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZfTk...eature=related live/paul weller solo
9.music for the last couple*
10.boy about town**
to be continued,next..."the gift" 1982.