Less than two weeks now until the release of one of the albums that many believe 2010 will be remembered for. So, is the ado justified? Is the new Paul Weller album “Wake Up The Nation” really going to shake the country more than Gordon Brown ever could?
‘Moonshine’ is a good start: energising, upbeat, “messy” in all the right places. Title track ‘Wake up the Nation’ is a 60’s sounding attack to a country of procrastinators hooked on social networking. So, is Paul Weller going to set an example and “take his face off Facebook”? 49,450 fans on his page probably hope not. The song has a fair chance of waking up the nation, or at least a few people at first, but it gets a bit repetitive half way through. Next is a splash into a warmer, soul atmosphere with ‘No Tears To Cry’ which proves to be quite a fitting display for Weller’s voice.
Does this make any sense to you so far? Probably not. But don’t feel bad about it, this was never meant to make a hell of a lot of sense. This is not even Paul Weller experimenting with his own muses. In fact, it was Simon Dines, co-producer on the “22 Dreams” album, who sent some good ideas over, prompting the Modfather and his band to get together in a studio and build up sixteen very different tracks on them.
Keep listening now, especially if you’re a Jam fan, because it’s time for ‘Fast Car – Slow Traffic’. Yes, Bruce Foxton has joined in and you know instantly from the song’s liveliness, from how your feet start tapping in response to this brit-indie rock potential classic. But hey, the Jam are not back together and Paul and Bruce are now in their fifties, so let’s give it a rest and slow down with melodic ‘Andromeda’ and instrumental ‘In Amsterdam’, which makes me think of a funfair in a very weird black and white horror movie.
From here on, to tell you the truth, it seems to drag on a bit, boring me in a desperate effort to be unique. Most of the 16 songs on this album are under two minutes and they all seem to come from a different album or even artist. 16 two minutes songs, at least for me, is a formula that works for punk due to its unrivalled musical simplicity. Here that same formula feels like a scrapbook of unfinished ideas and, while I occasionally catch bits of melodies that are quite captivating, like in 70-ish ‘Aim High’, fast ‘Grasp & Still connect’ or haunting ‘Up the Dosage’, I keep being destabilised in my enjoyment every time a new song finishes and a new one starts.
‘Trees’ in particular is like having an entire concept album in one song, and while some may call it a masterpiece and definitely takes a huge amount of creativity to conceive, it doesn’t really float my boat. By all means, if you are into the Jam and/or Style Council and/or Paul Weller this is a must have, as they all make an appearance on this album, maybe for the first time trying to become one. If this is a good or bad thing, I’ll leave it to you to decide.
By: Christa M.