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34
4.7 out of 5 stars
Wild Wood
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2004
In '92, Paul Weller returned to the fray with his excellent eponymous debut solo album. The following year, he treated us to "Wild Wood", his second solo piece. He manages to channel his own influences into what has become an inspirational album for many of his Brit-Pop disciples. The criticisms levelled at the album, (and indeed Weller in general) usually fall along the "wears his influences on his sleeve" lines. To many, it isn't the fact that he credits his influences, more the fact that the results (in Wild Wood) are such a joy to behold. Weller has never been shy to cite artists worthy of his respect, and it seems unfair to penalise him for his honesty.
Wild Wood is an earthy, natural sounding album, with plenty of acoustic work and a few strangle-your-guitar-and-squawk-into-the-microphone moments. The album is enhanced by the understated yet noticeable production techniques of friend and collaborator Brendan Lynch. Weller's voice is by turns warm and gritty as necessary, his guitar style varied and efficient, and his compositions diverse yet cut-from-the-same-cloth. Steve White's punchy drum sound adds much to the album, never intrusive, but always supportive and interesting.
An album which sees Weller's career as a solo artist start to take shape after the fantastic, yet dissimilar first album, Wild Wood deserves a place in any record collection, as an example of a seasoned song-writer in top form.
I recommend the (Japanese) Pony Canyon release "More Wood" which collects b-sides and remixes from the same era, all of which are top-notch, and could have happily nestled in amongst the finalised "Wild Wood" track-listing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
'Wild Wood' represents a big leap forward after the fake soul of The Style Council. The album has soul, but it's a natural inflection rather than a forced imitation of black music. For me, 'All The Pictures On The Wall' demonstrates this the best with its bold acoustic rhythms. Throughout the album, Weller's band display a hearty appetite for the music they're playing. They're as solid as any seasoned rock band, but their style is rooted more in the 1960s. This album and 'Stanley Road' complement each other and there are parallels. 'Sunflower' and 'The Changingman' open both albums in a similar fashion, for example, with simple, repetitive guitar figures. 'Stanley Road' has better songs, however, while 'Wild Wood' is more satisfying in terms of style. The device of including four brief interludes is effective, breaking up the songs to keep them fresh while giving the album a distinct aura.

Perhaps it's the content that falls marginally short of greatness. Weller's songwriting isn't as hard-hitting as in the days of The Jam, though some anger is still there. The title track, though, an alternative metaphor to 'concrete jungle' offers positive wisdom, something the angry young Weller didn't do much. 'Shadow Of The Sun' doesn't warrant seven minutes, however, and the extended instrumental passage only proves that he's better with three-minute songs. It's a minor criticism, though. 'Wild Wood' is largely a satisfying album.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2001
Weller really came back from the dead with this offering.After spluttering back to semi- conciousness with the self titled first album he shakes off the past and enters into a new era of confident songwriting with Whitey concreting his already rock steady back beat to PW,s enchanting acoustic and at times soulful sound(moon on your pyjamas). If you only buy one PW solo album make sure this is it (but follow it up with Stanley Road). BUY it NOW. Dixie Dean
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2001
This is the Album that introduced me to the great man himself. I love the felling it gives you from nostagia to just pure pleasure. Other albums ie Stanley Road have come close but never quite made it.Each track ouzes pure genius musically and poetically. A must for any Weller fan (are you a fan without it however???)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2000
This album is stunning. Every single song is a masterpiece in its' own right not just a simple album filler where Weller has run out of musical ideas. "Paul Weller" was a good starting album, "Stanley Road" is flecked with sparks of greatness and "Heavy Soul" is a poor hotch-potch of ideas, but "Wild Wood" is without doubt up there as one of the great albums by any artist ever. Ten out of Ten. Highlights include "All the Pictures on the Wall" and "5th Season" to name but a few.
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I bought my first Jam single in 1978 and stuck by PW and his music up to the splendid "Into Tomorrow" single way back when. However, I then became disillusioned and admit that I turned into one of the dreaded "his solo stuff isn't as good as The Jam/Style Council" nightmares. That statement was spoken parrot fashion to anyone who mentioned the two words PAUL and WELLER to me in the same sentence. My argument always came unstuck however, if anyone DARED to ask me if I'd actually listened to anyone his solo material...of course we know the answer to that one, don't we?!

Last Summer I was listening yet again to "Our Favourite Shop" and I went through one of those periods where - and men will understand this - you suddenly for no apparent reason become obsessed with a particular artist again; I played the Council and The Jam constantly, read as much material as I could on Weller and generally annoyed my wife for a couple of months. It was after she said that she'd divorce me if she ever heard "The Dreams Of Children" again that I thought, well, maybe now that I'm a mature, easy kind of guy in his early 40's, I should really give Weller's solo stuff a go, so I did. I started with this album, "Wild Wood". I never looked back.

Why on earth didn't I buy this stuff years ago? "Wild Wood" is a joy, beautiful songs beautifully played. "Sunflower" kicks the whole album off and right-away I recognised the guitar refrain. There were others I'd heard before, "The Weaver", for example, so not everything was new to me. "Wild Wood" is acoustic; is laid-back; is understated; is perfect for Summer. It's just a shame that I took 15 years to realise.

Sorry Paul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2013
I won't pretend to know a lot about Weller's music career, but this album just sounds like pure golden sunlight to me. I bought it in February, which some would agree is the worst month of the year here in Britain, and it was perfect to calm me when I was feeling het up. I sat on my rug in a pool of sunlight and painted, listening over and over for hours. Just wonderful. Especially the titular song, All the Pictures on the Wall, and Hung Up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2010
A truly superb album that has now taken quite a large role in the soundtrack of my life.
I truly hated Weller for splitting up The Jam but I feel that he has managed to redeem himself with this album, there is not a bad track on it and whenever my ipod randomly chucks one out it instantly takes me back to the first lazy hot summer that I spent with my now wife.
Thankyou for becoming one of my heroes again Mr. Weller.
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on 2 August 2015
As a lifelong Jam/TSC fan i have never really been a fan of Paul Weller's solo stuff as i stopped listening to the charts around the time TSC split.Having seen this album going cheap on Amazon i thought i would give it a try and am really glad i did.On the first play it didn't really grab me as his other stuff did but seeing as i was determined to give it a few successive plays to give it a chance on the second play i started liking it and now after giving it several plays it is rarely out of my cd player and i will give his other solo albums the same chance.Wild Wood easily ranks alongside Weller's classic 70's and 80's stuff.The title track i already knew but now songs like Sunflower,Country,Can You Heal Us Holy Man,All The Pictures On The Wall,Country,The Weaver,Shadows Of The Sun etc are all favourites of mine.Have just ordered his first solo album and can't wait for it to arrive
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The strength of the songwriting on Wild Wood is the main thing you take from it after a few listens, Weller really had his mojo back while writing and recording Wild Wood.
There's an acoustic guitar throughout and Weller sings about lost love, time passing, his return to form and even the power of god!!!
The outstanding track for me is "Shadow of the Sun" at over 7mins long its an epic tune, and maybe Weller's finest.
"Moon on your Pyjamas" (Written for his young son) for me is the only poor song on this album, maybe though the fact I don't have kids yet means I don't appreciate it.
Check out "All the Pictures on the wall" "The Weaver" and "Hung Up" all outstanding
Easily in my Top 5 albums of all time!!!
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