on 23 March 2006
To be honest, when I received this CD as a Christmas present last year, I wasn't really expecting very much.
Without being a huge fan, I've followed Weller's career on and off ever since the early days of the Jam and bought the odd single along the way. Admittedly 'Wild Wood' (1994) and 'Stanley Road' were both good albums, but with subsequent releases slightly disappointing and Weller pushing 50, my expectations were not that high.
This album is an absolute corker. I'm really impressed. From the frantic bluesy chords of the opening track this album hardly misses a beat. I am absolutely gobsmacked just how good it is. It easily stands shoulder to shoulder with 'Wild Wood' and 'Stanley Road' and is possibly better than both!
Only on two or three tracks does the intensity of Weller's compositional style and delivery produce slightly over-wrought songs ('Fly little bird', 'Pan' and 'The Pebble and the Boy') but for the most part the album is loose, energetic and choc-full of great songs, dashed off in an effortless variety of styles......in short it's an absolute joy.
If you like Weller and you haven't already purchased this album, what on earth are you waiting for??
on 21 November 2005
This album rocks! I had my doubt as I was not happy with "Studio 150" and to a lesser extent, with "Illumination". I kept thinking: where's the edge? What's with songs such as "Sweet Pea"? Of all the Paul Weller albums I have all the years these two unfotunately became fillers on the CD rack. I even deleted them from my ipod library as they are kind of a waste of space, literally. I was truly sadden as Paul's music has been a very important part of my life and I was so worried that maybe his fire had gone out.
Well. Worry no more. This album blows me away! Right from the start it is so gripping you can feel the energy oozing out- as good as the live version of "the Changingman" - that's how intense the sound is. I can't really tell you which song I like best from the album becasue they are all truly outstanding. I get really excited when I hear good music and this album a lot more than that. It is orgasmic. For those of you who have doubt like I had, give it a chance and you will be delighted. I promise. It doesn't get any better than this. Paul is god.
Since his days with the Jam and Style Council, our Paul has developed a pleasingly husky voice somewhere between the gargly growl of Family's Roger Chapman and the smoother soulfulness of, say, Paul Carrack - not a bad place to be.
He sings like both a saint and a demon on this truly superb album from 2005, up to then a career-best .
Best? Well, I think so. I love Wild Wood, Heavy Soul and 22 Dreams, and Stanley Road was a winner, but for me this is where it all came together.
The songs themselves are an eclectic lot, with not a dud among them. It's more like Wild Wood in its lyricism and overall feeling of good-humour. No point in picking highlights, as this is a set of songs I love almost as much as I love Rubber Soul or East Side Story.
I was never a big Jam fan (too long in the tooth by then - all of thirty-ish) but Weller's solo stuff I do like a lot, and the more I hear wondrous records like As Is Now, the more I realise what a huge talent the man has.
I loved this the first time I heard it. It's a terrific album full of diverse, musically inventive songs - fourteen of them - and I will be playing it often. The guy sounds full of the joys of life, and full of unexpected, unpredictable ideas too.
on 9 October 2005
having just finished listening to this Album i must say that its very close to being Weller at his best, this album mixes the best of Wild Wood and Stanley Road and blends it into a fine record
on 14 November 2005
“As Is Now” is something like a statement of how the things are going to be done by Paul Weller. The future seems to be good, The Modfather and his band (White, Minchella and Cradock) returns with this album. It has the classic Weller style, but it sounds fresh. Again, Jan “Stan” Kybert is the producer, so from that point of view this album is very linked to “Illumination” (2003). But the reminiscences of “Wild Wood” or “Stanley Road” and the earlier Weller are present.
The first two singles “From The Floor Boards Up” and “Come On/Let’s Go” are really good. “From The Floor...” reminds me of “Vertigo” by U2...that kind of song is this one!, 2 minutes and 27 seconds of frantic rock and roll!. When U2 released that song many people said that the band returned to their “Boy” (1980) days, well...as someone said here too, Weller returned in some way to his days with The Jam.
But since the very start the album catches you. “Blink And You’ll Miss It” opens with a classic riff by Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene) who has been playing with Weller for more than 10 years and has reached his maturity as a lead guitarist. “Paper Smile” is a song that could’ve been included in “Stanley Road” (1995), very similar to the self titled song on that album. “Savages” takes some of those days too, it’s one of the highlights on “As Is Now”, as a fact, it could be a single with no doubt.
Another good song is “Here’s The Good News”. A pop song with Weller on the piano and some horns behind; the Small Faces and the Beatles influences are there. In the same line is “I Wanna Make It Alright”. “Fly Little Bird” is an acoustic track with touches of Neil Young but it could have been arranged by McCartney too.
“All On A Misty Morning” is one of my favourites from this record. It starts with an acoustic guitar, almost a spanish one and unleashes a very rhythmic song with an easy to remind chorus. “Bring Back The Funk” is the funky (Obviously!) song from the album. The whole band pays a homage to the sound developed by some artists like Nile Rodgers (Chic) in the 70’s.
In general, it’s a great collection of songs. I think this album is better than “Heliocentric”, “Illumination”...even better than “Heavy Soul”...maybe I’m wrong, but I found this one a great buying. It didn’t disappoint me. We have Paul Weller for the future!
on 10 November 2005
I really love this album from the stirring and rip-roaring riffs of Blink And You'll Miss It and then through the undulating mix of styles, like the calm and collected I Wanna Make It Alright. Mr Weller really delivers, just like the very 1st time I heard and saw the Jam. The man is a real icon and still at the top
on 11 October 2005
Weller back to his best, have listened four times now, and only one below average track Pan. Seems to take something from everything that he has done, can't wait to see him live again in November
on 30 June 2006
A real barnstorming album this one. Three great rocking tracks stand out 'Blink and you'll miss it'- my personal favourite, 'From the floorboards up' and 'Come on - let's go'. This has been played over and over in my car CD since it came out. Together with the just released live album 'catch-flame' must represent the best quality two CD releases by anyone
on 17 October 2005
That Paul Weller is extremely talented is not news, whether you caught up with him back in The Jam days, around the time of Style Council, or since he chose to go at it solo, that has been made abundantly clear.
At every stage, his singing -part gutsy rocker, part blue-eyed Soul "heart in his sleeve"- has offered songs to remember and, at times, albums that hit the mark from beginning to end. I'm thinking here of the romantic grit of "Wild Wood" -his solo best in my opinion- or the fury and passion of "Stanley Road" or the acoustic showstopping versions in "Days Of Speed."
Still, when you look at his extensive discography, particularly since the Style Council, you may find that the list of great albums is short. Of course, you can always find some great tracks -"Heliocentric," "Illumination" or "Heavy Wood" had them- but the memorable always has found an equal counterpart in the forgettable.
This album is, without a doubt, a solid effort, akin to "Illumination" in tone and sound, but also willing to reach back and offer some of the raw energy and heartfelt confessionals of older recordings. "Blink," "Come On/Let's Go" and "From The Floorboards Up" are strong numbers showing Weller can still play hard, and some ballads -"The Start Of Forever," "Roll Along Summer" and "Savages"- prove, without reservations, that he still has a stirring voice.
So, again, this is a solid album, not a classic. If you are looking for more of what Weller had to give in the past, you'll find some new favorites, If you are looking for something that stretches the boundaries of what he's done before, you may be a bit disappointed.
on 15 October 2005
I had heard the singles from this album (Floorboards up/ Come on let's go) and I sensed from this that the rest of the album would be quite special. Fortunately this has been proven to be the case. The first three songs are jammin' good tunes, then things change with Here's the Good News. An excellent R&B number which could have been written by the late great Ronnie Lane himself. Things progress down-tempo on the next couple of numbers, then move swiftly on to the excellent All On A Misty Morning, which had been played on Paul's last UK tour. From the Floorboards up kick-starts the higher tempo again, before the album twists into a jazzy tune on the next track. The album progresses with further twists in musical directions. Bring Back the Funk is an awesome tune which displays Weller's diversity, and ability to perform, not just the standard rock tunes that so many of his fans crave, but other musical genres. The final track finishes the album off beautifully.
This album is truly brilliant, excellent, Weller is back!