Fat Pop Paul Weller
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- 1Cosmic Fringes02:20
- 3Fat Pop03:19
- 4Shades Of Blue03:06
- 5Glad Times04:03
- 6Cobweb / Connections02:56
- 8That Pleasure03:32
- 10Moving Canvas02:54
- 11In Better Times04:47
- 12Still Glides The Stream04:07
Info for Fat Pop
We may be cursed to be in the midst a global pandemic, buffeted by all of its stresses and pain. But everyone knows that art provides succour, that music is the most reliable balm. And for many there is further significant comfort to be drawn from the knowledge that Paul Weller is in the midst of an unbelievably prolific purple patch. Paul Weller will not let us down when we need him most.
Paul Weller releases his 16th solo album since his self-titled debut in 1992, which comes in just under twelve months following June 2020’s magnificent, chart-topping On Sunset. It’s not hyperbole to state that this new album, titled Fat Pop (Volume 1), is among his most compelling collections. It’s an absolute scorcher.
During spring last year, after his tour dates were postponed, Paul Weller needed something else to focus on. With many ideas for new songs stored on his phone, Paul started to record them on his own with just vocals, piano and guitar which he’d send to his core band members (drummer Ben Gordelier, Steve Cradock on guitar and bassist Andy Crofts) to add their parts. Despite it being strange not being together, it kept the wheels rolling and sanity prevailing. The band reconvened at Weller’s Black Barn studio in Surrey when restrictions were lifted to finish the work with the shape of the album becoming clear to all.
Fat Pop (Volume 1) – Paul adding the “Volume 1” to keep options open for a second volume in the future - is a diverse selection of sounds. No one style dominates. There’s the synth-heavy, future-wave strut of Cosmic Fringes, the stately balladeering of Still Glides The Stream (co-written with Steve Cradock), the chunky percussive groove of Moving Canvas (a tribute to Iggy Pop no less), and the kind of dramatic immediate pop symphonies on Failed, True and Shades of Blue with which Paul Weller has hooked in generation after generation of devotee.
As ever, Fat Pop, sees a number of guests contributing including Lia Metcalfe, the young Liverpudlian singer with The Mysterines who combines her tremendous vocal as well as a song writing credit to True. Andy Fairweather Low adds his distinctive vocals to superfly strutting Testify and Paul’s daughter Leah co-wrote and features on the classic 3 minute pop kitchen sink drama Shades Of Blue which will be the first single taken from the album. Hannah Peel is back in the fray adding her classic string scores to Cobweb Connections and Still Glides The Stream.
As the leader of the Jam, Paul Weller fronted the most popular British band of the punk era, influencing legions of English rockers ranging from his mod revival contemporaries to the Smiths in the '80s and Oasis in the '90s. During the final days of the Jam, he developed a fascination with Motown and soul, which led him to form the sophisti-pop group the Style Council in 1983. As the Style Council's career progressed, Weller's interest in soul developed into an infatuation with jazz-pop and house music, which eventually led to gradual erosion of his audience — by 1990, he couldn't get a record contract in the U.K., where he had previously been worshiped as a demigod. As a solo artist, Weller returned to soul music as an inspiration, cutting it with the progressive, hippie tendencies of Traffic. Weller's solo records were more organic and rootsier than the Style Council's, which helped him regain his popularity within Britain. By the mid-'90s, he had released three successful albums that were both critically acclaimed and massively popular in England, where contemporary bands like Ocean Colour Scene were citing him as an influence. Just as importantly, many observers, while occasionally criticizing the trad rock nature of his music, acknowledged that Weller was one of the few rock veterans who had managed to stay vital within the second decade of his career.
Weller's climb back to the top of the charts was not easy. After Polydor rejected the Style Council's fifth, house-influenced album in 1989, Weller broke up the group and lost both his record contract and his publishing deal. Over the next two years, he was in seclusion as he revamped his music. In 1991, he formed the Paul Weller Movement and released "Into Tomorrow" on his own independent label, Freedom High Records. A soulful, gritty neo-psychedelic song that represented a clear break from the Style Council, "Into Tomorrow" reached the U.K. Top 40 that spring, and he supported the single with an international tour, where he worked out the material that comprised his eponymous 1992 solo debut. Recorded with producer Brendan Lynch, Paul Weller was a joyous, soulful return to form that was recorded with several members of the Young Disciples, former Blow Monkey Dr. Robert, and Weller's then-wife, Dee C. Lee. The album debuted at number eight on the U.K. charts, and was received with positive reviews.
Wild Wood, Weller's second solo album, confirmed that the success of his solo debut was no fluke. Recorded with Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock, Wild Wood was a more eclectic and ambitious effort than its predecessor, and it was greeted with enthusiastic reviews, entering the charts at number two upon its fall 1993 release. The album would win the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contemporary Song Collection the following year. Weller supported the album with an extensive tour that featured Cradock as the group's leader; the guitarist's exposure on Wild Wood helped him successfully relaunch Ocean Colour Scene in 1995. At the end of the tour, Weller released the live album Live Wood late in 1994. Preceded by "The Changingman," which became his 17th Top Ten hit, 1995's Stanley Road was his most successful album since the Jam, entering the charts at number one and eventually selling nearly a million copies in the U.K.
By this point, Weller decided to stop attempting to break into the United States market and canceled his North American tour. Of course, he was doing so well in the England that he didn't need to set his sights outside of the U.K. Stanley Road may have been greeted with mixed reviews, but Weller had been re-elevated to his status as an idol, with the press claiming that he was the father of the thriving Brit-pop movement, and artists like Noel Gallagher of Oasis singing his praises. In fact, while neither artist released a new album in 1996, Weller's and Gallagher's influence was felt throughout the British music scene, as '60s roots-oriented bands like Ocean Colour Scene, Cast, and Kula Shaker became the most popular groups in the U.K.
Weller returned in the summer of 1997 with Heavy Soul. Modern Classics: Greatest Hits followed a year later. Heliocentric — which at the time of its release he claimed was his final studio effort — appeared in the spring of 2000. The live record Days of Speed followed in 2001, and he released his sixth studio album, Illumination, in 2002. A collection of covers called Studio 150 appeared in 2004, followed by an all-new studio release, As Is Now, in October of 2005 on Yep Roc. Released in 2006, Catch-Flame! Live at the Alexandra Palace preceded Yep Roc’s mammoth Hit Parade box set. It was followed in 2008 by 22 Dreams, a two-disc studio epic that managed to touch on all of Weller's myriad influences. His tenth solo album, Wake Up the Nation, was released in 2010 and it proved another success, earning a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. Weller's next album, Sonik Kicks, arrived in the spring of 2012; it debuted at number one in the U.K. and was eventually certified silver. The summer of 2014 brought More Modern Classics, a second solo hits compilation that rounded up the singles Weller released after Heavy Soul. The next spring, Weller returned with his twelfth solo album, Saturns Pattern.
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