It’s crazy to think we’re 30 years into Paul’s solo career. Damn, time flies! And here we are now as Paul just announced his 16th solo LP titled, Fat Pop (Volume 1)! The 12 track album is scheduled for release on May 14, 2021. We’ve got all the details for you, along with a preview in the lead single, Cosmic Fringes.
There’s an abundance of formats that will be available. Of course, all digital platforms but, if you’re still a physical format lover, and we hope you are, you’re in for treat as you’ve got a 3LP vinyl box set, 3CD box set, Picture Disc, Standard CD, 2 colour cassette variations and 4 colour vinyl variants to hunt down!
𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝟭𝟰, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭
𝗙𝗮𝘁 𝗣𝗼𝗽 (𝗩𝗼𝗹𝘂𝗺𝗲 𝟭)
Shades Of Blue
Cobweb / Connections
In Better Times
Still Glides The Stream
𝗙𝗮𝘁 𝗣𝗼𝗽 𝗕𝗼𝗻𝘂𝘀 (𝟯𝗟𝗣 / 𝟯𝗖𝗗 𝗕𝗼𝗻𝘂𝘀 Audio)
Round The Floor
Into The Sea
𝗠𝗶𝗱-𝗦ö𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗸 (𝟯𝗟𝗣 / 𝟯𝗖𝗗 𝗕𝗼𝗻𝘂𝘀 Audio)
Old Father Tyme
Still Glides The Stream
The story behind each song:
a dramatic entrance to fat pop (volume 1). cosmic fringes pairs a minimal, pumping electro swing with a deadpan vocal that detonates an unspecified poseur and blowhard. “i’m a sleeping giant, waiting to awake/i stumble to the fridge/then back to bed”.
“it’s not about anyone in particular,” suggests weller, “but i suppose it could be about a keyboard warrior, someone who is constantly brainstorming ideas but never gets around to doing them. someone talking the talk, but never doing anything.”
“when i first did the demo it was quite punky, a bit like the stooges. it doesn’t sound anything like that now because then i had the idea of stripping it all back to just the drums and bass, putting those synths on it. it’s got a bit of motoric feel to it and a little bit glam rock too, i think.”
a song with all the attributes of the greatest paul weller numbers: fire in its belly, questing lyrics, boss horns, flashes of guitar fury and a yearning melody you awake humming daily. it’s also a tremendous vocal, shared between paul and lia metcalfe, the young liverpudlian singer with the mysterines.
“i really like her band and i really like her singing,” he says. “it makes a massive difference that we sang it live, in the same room. she’s got a really powerful voice and i wanted to write something for us to sing together, so i did. then i just sent the phone demo to lia and two weeks later we cut it. that was one of the last things we did for the album, in around september”.
that brilliant, heavy bassline? “i did that. when we recorded it i was actually thinking about cypress hill, doing something that sounds like a dj muggs production. it’s got a bit of that. it’s my favourite song on the album, i think, about all the times music’s been there for me.”
*shades of blue*
a classic three-minute english pop kitchen sink drama, written by paul weller and his daughter leah, who joins him on vocals. “leah wrote the chorus for it and helped me finish it up. i wrote the verses. reminds me of a suburban drama, a play.”
sweeping, wistful, sparkling in shades of blue, glad times’ winning melancholia has been in the back of weller’s mind for a while. “i wrote this with tom (doyle) and ant (brown). they usually send me a backing track and we work on it from there. it’s been around for a while, nearly made it onto on sunset but didn’t quite fit. i really liked it, though, so i’m really glad it made it on to this album instead.”
*cobweb / connections*
pastoral introspections, featuring a lovely acoustic solo by pw and a string score by hannah peel. “i think the song is saying that the more you can be yourself and be happy with yourself, the more you change into something better. it’s not just good for you, it’s good for everyone else as well. ‘save yourself and save everyone around you too.’ it’s from observation but i suppose it’s about me too.”
superfly strutting, cut live in the studio with andy fairweather low adding distinctive vocals and jacko peake on fine flute and saxophone. when allowed out of the house, it’ll be a future live favourite.
“we had actually done it live two or three years ago,” says weller, “but while i loved the groove i never really got a grip on the song. then i did this charity gig in guildford, one of the last things i’ve done probably, some stax songs with andy fairweather low. our voices sound so good together and he’s such a lovely fellow, so i sent him the backing track. as soon as lockdown was lifted he came down to the studio for the afternoon. we cut it live and that was it.”
in amongst those soulful strings there is some barely contained rage in weller’s voice as he sings ‘lose your hypocrisy.’ “i suppose it’s my reaction to the whole black lives matter movement,” he explains. “you’re always on tender ground writing about that, but, regardless of my colour, any human being should be disturbed. you should be appalled and disgusted and shocked by those images of george floyd being killed in the street. it has to stop. it’s a question for everyone.”
‘all the things i never get/and all the things i never meant/and all the things that make no fucking sense…i’ve failed.’
“yes, i’m asking myself the question,” admits weller, a man who has never been afraid of self-reflection in his songwriting. “it’s an angry song because i wrote it right after a massive row with my wife. but i like it. it’s honest. it’s not how i feel all the time, but it is how i feel some of the time. i’m just talking about me as a man. we all measure success in different ways.”
it’s also one of his favourite songs on the album, a stand-out.
a chunky, percussive groove, with the feel of traffic but updated for the here-and-now.
“it’s going to be great live that one. i wrote it about iggy pop. i hope he likes it if he ever gets to hear it. it’s my tribute to him, even though it doesn’t sound anything like him. aside from all the great records he’s made, as a performer he’s high art. it’s all about the igster.”
*in better times*
a plaintive plea with some beautiful sax and guitar breaks. “cold in your eyes, don’t you know you break my heart in two”.
“it’s me talking to a young person who is going through something, addiction or mental health pressure, or whatever, and just saying it’ll be alright. just get through this bit and there’ll be better times to come, you’ll look back and you’ll see it differently.”
*still glides the stream*
a stately collaboration between weller and long-time guitar foil steve cradock.
“i had the chords and possibly the melody, which i sent to cradock. and he sent me back a poem and i edited that, then we sent it back and forth by phone. lockdown songwriting. i just liked the poem. in my mind, i was thinking about our road sweeper who’s a lovely fellow. i started thinking that there’s so many people in this country who form the infrastructure of it and without whom we’d be fucked. but they’re looked down upon, not really noticed. so i was imagining their story. i did find out that there’s a book of the same name (by flora thompson) and cradock said he had seen it in a shop, so that’s where the title comes from. i just liked the poetry of it. steve’s a very soulful fella.”
“12 really fat pops songs! They feel meaty and chunky and melodic. In our own arrogant way, we thought they could all be singles.” – Paul Weller
Most all the various formats, along with some cool new merch, can be pre-ordered via Paul’s official shop at paulweller.com
The yellow vinyl colour variant is exclusive to indie retailers. Our friends at Reflex Records in Newcastle can sort you and they ship worldwide.
The orange vinyl colour variant is exclusive to AmazonUK.
The yellow cassette is exclusive to HMV.