on 18 January 2006
No group had such a powerful effect on me in the '80s, or maybe ever, as TSC. And this box set is a stellar document to a truly great band. I didn't get to know The Jam until later, but I can understand the Jam fans who slammed The Council during their lifespan, since it's a testament to the loyalty Weller inspires in his fans, regardless of which phase of his career we're talking about.
Pretty much every track you need is captured here, some in different versions (Money Go Round Parts 1 & 2 vs. the 12" UK single version; Soul Deep Bert Bevans Remix vs. the regular 12" UK version). More than anything, as other reviews have noted, it's the sheer depth of songwriting ability and fearlessness to try something new that's so gripping. The evolution of this band is truly something to behold.
The list of favorites is too large, but some key tracks for me are: The Paris Match (A Paris version), The Long Hot Summer, Le Depart, My Ever Changing Moods (LP version) with just vocal and piano, Headstart For Happiness (both Money Go Round b-side and LP versions), It Just Came To Pieces In My Hands, Spin'Drifting, The Big Boss Groove, Shout To The Top, Man Of Great Promise, Luck, Walls Come Tumbling Down, It Didn't Matter, Heavens Above, The Cost Of Loving, The Piano Paintings (entire side), Why I Went Missing, Confessions 1, 2, 3, and Promised Land (full version).
The huge incentive for this set all by itself is Modernism: A New Decade. Rejected by Polydor at the time, it actually has several terrific tracks. For me, they would be: Can You Still Love Me (even better than the b-side version from the Promised Land single), World Must Come Together, Hope (Feelings Gonna Getcha), Everybody's On The Run (also better than the b-side from Long Hot Summer '89), Love Of The World and Sure Is Sure, a bittersweet farewell track from my favorite-ever band.
Finally, the packaging itself is first-rate, with a lavish booklet full of photos and memorabilia, along with a lyric sheet.
For anyone who's followed the line that this was Weller's "wilderness period", it might be worth your while to give this a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.
on 9 July 2000
This is a must for anyone remotely interested in the Style Council or the career of Paul Weller. Every single track including the unreleased & rejected MODERNISM LP are included. 5 CD's all filled with classics. WHO else experimented so much - Marvel at the jazz filled Cafe Bleu, the political Our Favourite Shop, the soulful Cost OF Loving, the Classical Confessions of a pop group and the House music of Modernism...
on 21 December 2006
Jacking in the Jam, going to France, wearing shoes without socks.... He was never going to win in the eyes of many, but Paul Weller was a brave man. The Jam still mean something because they're not playing Butlins' South Coast World, belting out "When You're Young", with salt and pepper hair.
And then there's the Style Council.
In any of his guises, what often carries Paul Weller through is his instinctive and consistent songwriting. The same is true of the Style Council.
Because they weren't The Jam, because he started welling pullovers and because he sung in French once, people forget that The Style Council (at least for the most of their career) made some excellent music. And it's all here. Including the house music adventure.
Pop perfection lies in songs such as "Speak Like A Child." "Walls Come Tumbling Down" and "Shout To The Top" are 2 of the finest songs of the 1980s, brimming with soul and indignation.
B-sides and obscure tracks like "Picadilly Trail" and "Spin Drifting" are charming and inspired.
There's the evergreen hits like "Long Hot Summer" and "..Ever Changing Moods" as well.
Where this starts to fall apart is around tracks like "It Didn't Matter" which are plastic and forgettable.
What is surprising is the quality of the house music efforts. "Sure Is Sure" is a decent effort and TSC's cover of Joe Smooth's "Promised Land" is perfectly competent.
But it could never work. The audience weren't having any of it and TSC's days were numbered.
But here is a quality document of their recording output and it deserves to be cherished.
on 4 April 2001
anyone that is a paul weller fan, and does not know his exploits in the style council, this set is a must buy. it shows what a talent this guy is, it's filled with everything the style council has produced, many of them classics. if you buy this you will have to buy the jam box set as well. buy this and enjoy, great summer tunes.
on 29 August 2003
Although I've been out of touch with my long-lost and beloved music of TSC, I am now getting myself back into my old groove. Anyone who is aching for something different, new and honest should not pass up The Style Council or the The Jam for that matter. With music becoming more stale with every passing day (much as it did during the Mod revival and punk explosion of the 70's and 80's), TSC still offers an exceptional musical option to counter the mainstream crap. I consider them to be the only true "Modernist" band of the 80's...if not even today. Even though most of the tunes are almost 20 years old, they remain as cool today as they were during their first release. Paul Weller is a timeless talent that will live on in the hearts of all Jam and TSC fans forever. I am as fond of my copy of "Introducing the Style Council" (on LP mind you) today, as I was when I first bought it in 1984. Although my Vespa is gone, as well as my wingtips, herringbone and Export A's, and my life has taken me to different places than I originally expected, TSC and The Jam are still two of the most symbiotically related and relevant bands influencing music today. I am disgustedly disappointed with Polydor for not releasing TSC's last album, but I hold out faith that the listening public will vote with their purchases. Paul and Mick deserve all the accolades and credit we can give them because they've earned it. Cheers to my British friends.
on 18 January 2013
I am a huge TSC fan and feel very happy to own this box now. I had already got The Ultimate Collection, Gold, Greatest Hits, Our Favourite Shop and Here's some that got away. This box also gave me good tracks like Heaven's above, Fairy Tales and a couple of others I like a lot, like Walking the night. Headstart for happiness always makes me happy (and also Love Pains, from Here's some...) About Modernism: A New Decade: now I know why Polydor recejted it, because I didn't like it at all! And I'm sorry to say I don't like instrumentals. Thank's for the lyrics and I look forward to read the book included in the box.
on 4 October 2007
I rank Paul Weller at the same level as Lennon/McCartney and David/Bacharach as a composer. This box set captures almost all his work with The Style Council who, along with the Smiths, were the greatest band of the 1980s.
However it is not quite complete because it misses some great songs and in particular My Very Good Friend found on "Here's Some That Got Away". That album is a must buy.
I know. It's a crabby title to talk about Paul Weller's efforts. He was so impressive. The Jam; Style Council plus so many other projects: he lives life to the full without wanting to miss anything in it. I'm currently listening to a song that used to wake me up every morning for about a month when I lived in a bedsit over a chippy in Southend on Sea! I so needed to know what it was, but it was many years later that I actually found out what the record was. Oh, but to have the long version of Long Hot Summer is more than finding gold dust. The record still makes me want to dance for joy in the hearing of it. This lovely collection of songs here from the Style Council is pure balm to my ears. I'm only on Track 4 and I know I'm going to adore the whole album. What a find. :)