I was very lucky and honored to get a preview of Paul’s upcoming album, “True Meanings.” Let’s just get this out of the way. It’s simply fantastic! As an unapologetic fan, I get excited for every new PW album but, trust me, this one is magic!
You may have read a few stellar four and five star magazine reviews already, and all those are 100% true. However, the sort of “singer/songwriter” label that’s been floating around doesn’t really do the album justice. It’s so much more than just that. Incredibly dense and soulful, and not only acoustic guitar and strings, you get loads of Hammond Organ, horns, piano, electric guitar, bass, drums and I imagine whatever else was in the studio that could be used to give backbone to these expertly crafted tunes.
Leave it to Weller to give himself a general creative genre direction, “I wanted to make an album that “Gravity” would fit on,” put his own spin on it and offer up a result that is unmistakably him. My best description would be to imagine, what if your influences were both Nick Drake and Bill Withers? What kind of record would you make? I think “True Meanings” rests comfortably right in that musical sweet spot with, as always, a bit of The Beatles nestled in as well.
There are indeed some quiet, tender moments and big sweeping moments, but this record is an eclectic 14 song journey of substance and style. I was totally immersed in every tune on the first listen. None of the old, “Well, that one will need to grown on me,” stuff.
As many of you know, it features orchestration and it’s used to accent the whole affair perfectly. Paul welcomed in numerous guests and every collaboration feels natural. Vocally, musically and lyrically. Nothing feels out of place. And Paul’s voice is the best it’s ever been. Completely mature and confident. It all works!
I’m not a journalist or critic, so I’m not going to follow the traditional review structure and break down every song, try and get into deeper meanings or reveal too much. I want and hope you’ll discover your own interpretations, and how special this album is on your own as part of your release day listening ritual. Whether that be with your eyes peeled on the liner notes, listening through headphones. Having a tasty beverage blasting it through your favourite listening room’s speakers. Taking in some sun with a portable record player in the garden, or driving around in the car. We all have ours. It’s a beautiful thing.
Whatever your expectations, you know Paul, the fella’s still got some surprises for you! Bottom line, “True Meanings” is an unequivocal gem!
Peace, Love and SOUL… Dave B.
Paul Weller – True Meanings
1. The Soul Searchers
5. Old Castles
6. What Would He Say?
9. Wishing Well
10. Come Along
12. Movin’ On
13. May Love Travel With You
14. White Horses
Deluxe CD (and streaming formats) will contain 5 bonus tracks – including remixes from Richard Hawley, RaVen and The Reflex and instrumentals of Glide and Old Castles.