Jam and Paul Weller


(Copyright © 1999-2024 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Paul Weller , 5/10
Wild Wood , 6/10
Stanley Road, 5/10
Heavy Soul , 4/10
Modern Classics , 4/10
Heliocentric , 5/10
Illumination , 4/10
Studio 150 (2004), 3/10
22 Dreams (2008), 6/10
Wake Up The Nation (2010), 6/10
Sonik Kicks (2012), 5/10
Links:

I Jam di Paul Weller furono all'inizio parte integrante del fenomeno punk. Il successo improvviso e clamoroso di In The City (1977) e All Around The World (1977), canzoni melodiche e nervose ispirate all'opera di Who, Small Faces e degli artisti soul della Tamla, lancio` il revival dei "mod" (capelli ben tagliati, camicia bianca, scarpe di pelle, vestito nero). In The City (Polydor, 1977) fece epoca per le musiche nostalgiche e per i vivaci ritratti cittadini (Sounds From The Street, Bricks and Mortar).

Duro e grintoso, con Modern World e News Of The World, l'album This Is The Modern World (Polydor, 1978) consacro` la moda.

All Mod Cons (Polydor, 1978) poneva pero` gia` fine alla fase adolescenziale e apriva nuovi orizzonti, abbandonando i sovratoni mod a favore di una canzone rock piu` varia e adulta. Ne scaturi` la lirica protesta anti-razziale di Down In The Tube Station.

Dopo il tetro concept autobiografico Setting Sons (Polydor, 1979), con l'anthemica Eton Rifles, che li impose come la versione seria dei Kinks, ebbe inizio con Sound Affects (Polydor, 1980) la fase dei ritmi piu` danzabili (Start), nonostante qualche rigurgito di rabbia (Going Underground) e di sarcasmo (That's Entertainment).

Weller si allontano` ulteriormente dagli esordi con i singoli Absolute Beginners (1982) e Funeral Pyre (1982), esperimenti ritmici su tema melodico e psichedelico. Questo suono piu` gradevole e ritmato portera` in classifica il soul esuberante di Town Called Malice (1982), Bitterest Pill (1982) e Beat Surrender (1983), l'ultimo singolo. The Gift (Polydor, 1982) mostrava un complesso alla ricerca di nuovi orizzonti, ma falliva su tutti i fronti (eccetto quello commerciale, in quanto fini` in testa alle classifiche britanniche).

Poi Weller, al culmine delle proprie capacita` compositive, sciolse gli Jam nel 1983 e, coadiuvato dal tastierista Mick Talbot, diede subito vita agli Style Council.

Con i primi singoli degli Style Council nel 1983 (Speak Like A Child, Long Hot Summer, Money Go Round, A Solid Bond In Your Heart) Weller varo` una nuova strategia, allontanandosi dalla violenza punk e avvicinandosi a quella che era sempre stata una specialita` dei cantautori britannici: coniare sulle fondamenta rock'n'roll un soul bianco d'autore. Il pubblico successo fu enorme e consacro` Weller fra i beniamini del pubblico.

Cafe` Bleu (Polydor, 1984), noto come My Ever Changing Moods (Geffen, 1984) in America, lascio` soprattutto un'impressione di confusione e ingenuita`, svariando senza un baricentro fra tremila generi (soul, jazz, funk, rap e rock). Headstart For Happiness, Paris Match e The Whole Point Of No Return sono, a seconda delle preferenze, ottime partiture da night club parigino o tediose, autoindulgenti lamentazioni. You're The Best Thing, My Ever Changing Mood, e Shout To The Top furono comunque gli hit del 1984.

Nei brani di Our Favourite Shop (Polydor, 1985), noto come Internationalists (Geffen, 1985) in America, ben piu` sofferti e sofisticati, ma spesso anche stucchevoli, Weller si candida come l'erede bianco della dinastia dei Marvin Gaye e Curtis Mayfield. A parte le esuberanti Walls Come Tumbling Down e Shout To The Top, l'operazione lascia pero` l'amaro in bocca: Boy Who Cried Wolf, Homebreakers e Internationalists sono ballad molto raffinate, prodotte con perfezione certosina, ma anche poco comunicative.

The Cost Of Loving (Polydor, 1987) segno` un momento di crisi, nonostante It Didn't Matter.

Subito dopo venne pero` il suo album piu` ambizioso, Confessions Of A Pop Group (Polydor, 1988), con il suo ultimo hit, Life At A Top Peoples Health Farm, una lunga suite autobiografica in un chiassoso stile soul-funk, e una sequenza di sofisticate canzoni jazz (intitolate "Piano Paintings", in particolare la suite The Gardener Of Eden). I lambiccati arrangiamenti jazz di quest'ultimo lasciava pero` presagire che Weller era maturato anche come autore e aveva un bisogno disperato di dire la sua sul corso del mondo (vedi la torrenziale arringa della title-track).

La fortuna del gruppo era pero` finita. L'album successivo, New Decade Of Modernism, venne rifiutato dalla casa discografica e ad uscire fu soltanto una raccolta di rimasugli, Here's Some That Got Away (Polydor, 1993). Singular Adventure (Polydor, 1989) raccoglie tutti i singoli.

Weller getto` la maschera (ovvero il gruppo) e diede inizio alla carriera solista, improntata a una diligente rilettura del soul-pop di Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, persino Prince. Uh Huh Oh Yeah e Into Tomorrow confermarono piu` che altro la sua capacita` di sintonizzarsi sui bisogni piu` epidermici del suo pubblico, ma l'album Paul Weller (Go DIsc, 1992) confermo` anche la gracilita` dello stile, in sostanza rimasto agli ultimi Style Council, meno le ambizioni grandiose dell'ultimo disco. Kosmos

Weller trovo` la sua vera voce con Wild Wood (Go Disc, 1993). Con Weaver e Sunflower Weller mirava piu` che altro a recuperare l'austera classicita` del folk-pop-soul britannico (Winwood, Morrison, Stewart), ma nella title-track e in All The Pictures On The Wall spendeva accordi dimessi alla ricerca dell'introspezione che gli era fin'allora mancata. Can You Heal Us e Has My Fire Really Gone Out restituiscono Weller ai toni piu` angosciati degli Style Council.

Stanley Road (Go Discs, 1995) prosegui` in quella direzione, anche se, passata la sorpresa, e` facile rilevare i difetti di sempre, specialmente quell'aggirarsi senza meta nel mondo, quell'essere filosofo che discetta altezzoso sul fatto di non aver la piu` pallida idea di quale sia il significato della vita. Changing Man e Out Of The Sinking i nuovi singoli. Nonostante lo spiegamento di ospiti d'onore, l'unico valore di questo disco sono i testi, e soltanto per chi ama sentirsi raccontare le disavventure morali di questo "giovane Werther" del soul.

Heavy Soul (Island, 1997), con l'accompagnamento degli Ocean Colour Scene, non ha da offrire piu` di Peacock Suit e Up In Suze's Room. Weller has become a mediocre clone of Van Morrison and Stevie Winwood.

Personaggio debole e confuso, Weller rimane comunque uno dei cantautori che meglio hanno saputo interpretare le ansie della sua generazione.

Translated by Cristiana Jeary

In the beginning, Paul Weller’s Jam were an integral part of the punk phenomenon. The sudden and overwhelming success of In The City (1977) And All Around The World (1977), tense and melodic songs inspired by Who, Kinks, and the Tamla’s artists, launched the "mod" revival ( a very short hair cut, white shirts, leather shoes, black suits). In The City (Polydor, 1977) marked the era for nostalgic music.

Tough and aggressive with Modern World and News Of The World, the album This Is The Modern World (Polydor, 1978) consecrated a trend.

All Mods Cons (Polydor, 1978) put an end to this adolescent phase and opened new horizons: in abandoning the mod overtones they favoured greater variety and a more adult rock. Down In The Tube Station , an anti racial lyrical protest, stems as a consequence.

In spite of a few aggressive roars (Going Underground) and a touch of sarcasm (That’s Entertainment), with Sound Affects (Polydor, 1980) the more danceable phase (Polydor, 1979) began, following the gloomy autobiographic concept of Setting Sons with the anthem-like Eton Rifles (Polydor, 1979) which had crowned them the more serious version of Kinks’s.

Weller distanced himself further from the early debuts with the singles Absolute Beginners (1982) and Funeral Pyre (1982), rhythmic experiments on a melodic and psychedelic theme. This sound, more rhythmic and pleasant, will take the exuberant Town Called Malice (1982) Bitterest Pill (1982), and the last single Beat Surrender (1983)all the way to the charts. The Gift (Polydor, 1982) revealed a group in search of new horizons, but failed on every front.

Then in 1983, at the pick of his composing abilities, Weller split the Jam up and with Mick Talbot’s back up on the keyboard he quickly formed Style Council.

With his first singles In 1983, (Speak Like A Child, Long Hot Summer, Money Go Round, A Solid Bond In Your Heart) Weller launched a new strategy, having distanced himself from the punk violence, he got closer to what had been the British songwriter’s speciality: to coin a white artist’s soul on the foundations of rock and roll. The public success was overwhelming and people elected Weller as one of their favourites.

Caf=E9’ Bleu (Polydor, 1984), known in America as My Ever Changing Moods (Geffen, 1984), left mainly the impression of ingenuity and confusion by moving among thousand styles (soul, jazz, funk, rap and rock) with a lack of direction, Headstart For Happiness, Paris Match and The Whole Point Of No Return, depending on taste, are either excellent Parisian night club scores or tedious, self indulgent moans. You Are The Best Thing, My Ever Changing Mood and Shout To The Top were hits in 1984 regardless.

In Our Favourite Top (Polydor, 1985), known in America as The Internationalists (Geffen, 1985) more suffered and sophisticated but also often plastered, Weller became candidate for the white dynasty of Martin Grave and Curtis Mayfield.

The exuberant Walls Come To Tumbling and Shout To The Top aside, the operation leaves you with a bitter taste: Boy Who Cried Wolf, Homebrakers and Internationalists were very refined ballads, produced with laborious perfection, but also not very communicative.

The Cost of Loving (Polydor, 1987) marked a moment of crisis in spite of It Didn’t Matter. But straight after his most ambitious album arrived, Confessions Of A Pop Group (Polydor, 1988) with his last hit Life At The Top People Health Farm, a long autobiographic suite in a noisy soul-funk style and a sequence of sophisticated jazz songs (entitled "Piano Paintings"), (the suite The Gardener Of Heaven in particular).

The distilled jazz arrangements of the latter left you the feeling that Weller had matured also as an author and was in desperate need of having his say on world matters ( see the torrential speech of the title-track).

Unfortunately the group’s luck had run out. The following album, New Decade Of Modernism was rejected by the record company, Singular Adventure contains all singles.

Weller threw off his mask (in other words the group) and started his solo career, aiming for a dignified reading of soul-pop (Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, even Prince). Uh Uh Oh Yeah and Into Tomorrow prove, one more time, his ability to tune to the more basic needs of his audience, but the 1992 album ( for Go Disc) also confirmed the frailty of his style, substantially still anchored to Style Council but lacking the great ambition of the last record.

Weller found his authentic voice with Wild Wood (Go Disc, 1993). With Weaver and Sunflower he aimed to savage the stern classicism of British pop soul (Winwood, Morrison, Stewart) but in the title-track and in All The Pictures On The Wall he used subdued chords in search of an introspection he had been lacking up till then. Can You Heal Us and Has My Fire Really Gone Out return Weller to the angst of the Style Council era.

Stanley Road (Go Disc, 1995) proceeded towards the same direction, even though, after recovering from the surprise it’s easy to detect the familiar downfalls, especially that wondering around the world aimlessly, that philosopher' s way , cockily blabbering on the fact he hasn’t got a clue about the meaning of life. Changing Man and Out Of The Sinkingthe new Despite the tour de force of production and the number of guests, the main value of the album is in the lyrics, and only if you like hearing the confessions of this "young Werther" of soul.

Heavy soul (Island, 1997) with Ocean Colour Scene’s backing has nothing more to offer than Peacock Suit and Up In Suze’s Room.

Weller has become a mediocre clone of Van Morrison and Stevie Winwood.

A weak and confused character, Weller remains nevertheless one of the singer-composers who was better able to interpret his generation’s anxiety.

Modern Classics (Island, 1998) is an anthology of the four solo albums.

Bringing back Nick Drake's arranger Robert Kirby on Heliocentric (Island, 2000), helps demistify Nick Drake, not enhance Weller's status. Weller is an intelligent, mature, adult, serious songwriter, but nothing more than a pop songwriter with a mediocre inspiration. The orchestral colorings are nice but do not increase the limited depth of his songs, and sometimes make them sound too bombastic. After listening to There's No Drinking After You're Dead (the standout), one starts missing even Eric Clapton. With Time And Temperance, Love-less and Dust And Rocks are not necessarily obnoxious: they are probably good songs, just performed by someone who is terribly obnoxious as a singer and arranger (check out Elvis Costello for more waste).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Andrea Salacone)

Modern Classics (Island, 1998) è un’antologia dei quattro album da solo. Aver ripescato, per Heliocentric (Island, 2000), l’arrangiatore di Nick Drake, Robert Kirby, contribuisce a demistificare Nick Drake, certo non accresce il prestigio di Weller. Weller è un songwriter intelligente, serio e maturo, ma niente più che un autore di canzoni pop dotato di mediocre ispirazione. Le coloriture orchestrali sono gradevoli, ma non accrescono la limitata intensità delle sue composizioni, e a volte le fanno suonare troppo pretenziose. Dopo aver ascoltato There’s No Drinking After You’re Dead (la traccia che spicca) si comincia addirittura a rimpiangere Eric Clapton. With Time And Temperance, Loveless e Dust And Rocks non sono di per sé sgradevoli: probabilmente si tratta di buone canzoni, eseguite però da un cantante-arrangiatore che è terribilmente spiacevole (per ulteriori scempi si veda Elvis Costello).

It's Written in The Stars is the highlight of Illumination (Independiente, 2002), and that is not a compliment. Mostly, his atmospheric soul ballads sound like lefovers of an old Van Morrison album (Going Places, Leafy Mysteries, One x One). But that was a masterwork compared with the cover collection Studio 150 (2004).

Catch Flame (2006) documents a live performance. As Is Now (2006) contains rarities.

22 Dreams (2008) is a complex balancing act of jazz (Song For Alice), folk (Light Nights), pop (Invisible), rock (Push It Along), soul (Empty Ring and Cold Moments), funk (22 Dreams), electronica (111), music-hall (Black River), and even instrumental kitsch (Lullaby Fuer Kinder), and, above all, strange hybrids that embody the middle age crisis (Echoes Around the Sun). One wonders how much the album belongs to producer Simon Dine though.

Wake Up The Nation (2010) has the usual dose of filler, but also some irresistible gems: the piano rockabilly Moonshine, the pub singalong Find The Torch Burn The Plans and the soul shuffle Aim High. The real highlight (perhaps of his entire career) is Two Fat Ladies, opened by a Who-style guitar riff and soon transformed into a demonic boogie dance. Weller also ventures into a diligent imitation of psychedelic pop of the Sixties with 7&3 is the Strikers Name, a cute hybrid of catchy refrains and dissonant guitar noise.

After two so confident rock albums, Weller decided to take a detour into stylistic experimentation on Sonik Kicks (2012). The results are mostly terrible, except for the electronic boogie of Green (eerily reminiscent of Chrome), the syncopated psychedelic soul of That Dangerous Age and the dub-techno with overtones of Sixties movie soundtracks of Study In Blue.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami

What is unique about this music database