I really enjoyed this album and as is often the case with Weller he raised some interesting views on the world which we live in; I bought the deluxe edition with the additional CD, Booklet. The one thing I miss from the days of vinyl is the artwork, opinion & sleeve notes which is lacking from most albums today, worth the extra in my view. The stand out tracks are many on this album, however I admit to being a Weller fan since the late 70's, the soulful No Tears to Cry is probably my favourite track today or is it Find the torch/burn the plans or..!
I was less impressed with the second CD `Change up the Nation' which I found to be a confusing mix of different styles which are not coherent when listened to back to back, but again some of the remixes were to my taste and I felt that overall it added to the value of the deluxe edition, lets face it your probably already a Weller fan if your buying this version over the single disc version or the download.
First play of this CD left me wondering if The Man had lost his marbles. Too experimental, a bit avant garde. Second play and I was coming round to Mr Wellers way of thinking. By the fifth play I fully understood what this album was all about. There are so many different sounds in there, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up but once you've got your head around it you're on the train.Enjoying the ride, letting your senses absorb every little detail of the journey. Weller is in total control of this guitar led adventure. You will pass through Curtis Mayfield territory, visit Walker Brother Land and stop off somewhere near to the town of Northern Soul. There's also plenty of Paul Weller in there too!!! As a body of work, this album is a true masterpiece. If 22 Dreams failed to excite you, then this one is for you. A total change of direction, The Angry Young Man of yesteryear is back and He's got plenty to say.
'Wake Up The Nation' is an album full of rasping guitar riffs underlying a contrast of high energy or soulful melodic vocals. Great diversity of tracks within a 60's influenced sound (so different to 22 dreams, which had every musical style you could think of thrown in). Paul Weller continues to remain current and keep that edge after all these years - as an old Jam fan it was great to hear that Bruce Foxton was back on board too. Wind down the car windows, put 'Wake Up The Nation' on full volume and enjoy the Long Hot Summer of 2010 (here's hoping!)
If like me, you have grown up grown old with the music of Paul Weller then you are in for a bit if a surprise. Do you remember all that gritted teethed aggression and unashamed exuberance at Weller's wild and slightly crazy expressive side ? Well, my fellow music lovers it's time to get very excited indeed at this latest offering by yer' man. The sheer energy and passion of this album will take you back to that of the Jam. Our man has combined every element of his musical journey to culminate in a diverse but surprisingly addictive collection of tunes. He probably doesn't need any more plaudits and pats on the back and I'm sure he's aware by now how truly talented he is but I have to say this maybe is the best solo album of his career. Thank god for Paul Weller, imagine the size of the void in the music industry without him the last 30 years. Yes, that's right it's unimaginable....
Shall I or shall I not? To Deluxe or not to deluxe? Stanley Road Deluxe; great but nothing special. In the end the lure of getting a second CD for not a lot of money was too great. After a minor fall out with the other half withdrew to the shed to pack a few more boxes (we are moving house). Listened to Wake Up The Nation for the first time. Abolutely brilliant. Short sharp excellent examples of just what Weller is. Everything is there. Every creation, mood, influence, style, mode, arrangement Paul Weller has ever experienced and provided for us to enjoy and wonder at is there. This is the culmination of everything Paul Weller has been to date but it is absolutely original, not just churning out the same old crap as too many do today but building on all that has gone before. Absolutely brilliant Paul Weller as we all love him. The pinnacle of his career; or so I thought. The second disk is without question one of the greatest musical creations I have ever experienced. I still cannot believe what I hear. Argument forgotten I rushed into the kitchen..... What do you think of this then? I enthusiastically enquired of one who is no mug when it comes to Weller. It's awesome was the reply. Who is it then? I asked. No idea, sounds like an upbeat remixed Paul Weller. Exactly what it is. This is Weller being Weller; using everything he has and then encompassing modern beats, electronica, vocals, mixes and techniques to produce something that is a musical milestone. Dubstep with raw aggression, The Jam gone electronica, The Style Council with melodious backing, Weller truly embracing every musical style and using every device available to produce the Michelin 5 star album. (Yes I know Michelin only gives 4 that is why I say 5) No Tears To Cry (Leo Zero Remix) has everything; but all the tracks do so ......... There really is nothing much else to say except that the second disk could be released as a stand alone. Anybody who declines to add Wake Up The Nation to their collection is missing a treat. Is it "Mixers using great source material to produce masterpieces or is it Weller using modern mixes to make his stuff even better? Half full or half empty; same result different explanation: who cares? Everyone who enjoys music of any description should beg steal or borrow; maybe even buy, the Deluxe edition for it is the deluxe bit that epitomises Weller and really is one of the greatest albums I have ever heard.
This is as unexpected as it is brilliant. Just pause to consider these facts -- Weller is 52. All of his contemporaries from the late-70s have disappeared from view. And he has probably just made the album of his career. I've enjoyed Weller's solo work. In particular, his solo debut, Wild Wood and As Is Now are outstanding albums. But this... this is in a different league. It lacks some of the plodding of other collections -- it's urgent, fun, moving, and energising. If you're a selective downloader, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by cherry-picking selective tracks -- it feels like an organic piece of work and merits 'start to finish' listening. But clear stand-out tracks are the title track, 'No Tears to Cry' with its 'Broken Stones' vibe, 'Andromeda', 'Find The Torch/Burn The Plans' and the astonishing 'Trees'. Lyrically, this song covers the same ground as Elvis Costello's 'Veronica' -- imagining the previous life of residents in a nursing home, but it's so much more than that. It's proud, musically wonderful, and wistful too, when you consider that one of those residents was Weller's own Dad, John. Maybe it's the emotional trauma of his loss that gives this album its rawness, or maybe Weller is just having fun these days. Either way, he has delivered the best album of his solo years, his most musically interesting since 'Confessions Of A Pop Group' and maybe his career masterpiece.
Weller demonstrates more than adequately that he's still at the top of his game, indeed he betters his last outing. Lacking nothing in energy or musical talent, or indeed ire for anything that he cares to comment on, he demonstrates that there's plenty to be left to be said, and plenty different ways of doing it. Top class stuff, can't wait to see it live. No idea if it's 'maturing' or 'improving' his talent and don't much care it's that good. Slightly narrower spread of styles than previous outings, but still enough to satisfy, may need another copy of this,as I'm in danger of wearing this copy out. Sheer genius.....
I've followed Paul Weller's career from his early London gigs with The Jam to his recent triumphant week to packed houses at The Royal Albert Hall and he's been a key figure in my life, off and on.
I didn't really like The Style Council, like I loved The Jam, but in retrospect there were many great songs that came out of that time and Paul moved on decisively from a threatenening dead end - it was an incredibly brave decision to end both groups but it has paid huge dividends to him...and us, his audience.
A friend re-introduced me to his music with the first solo album, months after it had come out and I was knocked out by how he had managed to reinvent himself by going back to his early "rock" and "pop" influences like The Small Faces and The Who, while injecting some of his newer jazz and folk influences into his music. His lyrics remain provocative and meaningful to this day, never succumbing to triteness, but including an element of much-needed humour.
With this album, he has moved on yet again, while retaining a keen talent for melodies and hooks. The tracks contained on disc one are as good as anything he has created throughout his long successful career, blazing with assuredness, confidence and sheer great musicianship. Fellow musicians come and go but Weller seems to find brilliant producers with whom to collaborate. I understand from the notes in the book that accompanies this beautifully-produced package that his producer, Simon Dine of "Noonday Underground" was a key partner in this respect. But Paul Weller is the main "driver of his own car".
The deluxe edition (in this case, no mere commercial tag) is worth the money. It comes in hard cover book form, beautifully designed by Simon Halfon (as ever!) and contains two discs and a book of notes, essays, lyrics and photographs.
Even more relevant are the delights to be found on the second disc. This contains remixes, rehashes of most of the main album tracks on disc one by fellow musicians and producers. Paul has always collaborated in this way. The Portishead "Wild Wood" remix was particularly successful but I've always liked listening to the crazy work-outs and 'jams' contained on his B sides and rarities albums. If you like this aspect of Paul Weller's music, you won't be disappointed.