Effortlessly cool, popular with the old and the young, and still releasing tunes as good as the stuff he brought out at the tail-end of the 70s. There’s only one person I can be talking about here, and that’s the Modfather himself, Mr Paul Weller.
The amount of hits this man has had throughout his musical career is simply phenomenal; From his beginnings fronting The Jam, to his time in The Style Council, followed by his award winning solo work, Mr Weller has notched up more classic songs and influenced more artists than you can shake a fist at. And it’s with this in mind that Paul releases another greatest hits album, this time focusing on the last 15 years of his career with new album More Modern Classics.
What’s noticeable about this record is the quality that’s still within the songs, even with many of his biggest hits being written before the last 15 years missing. Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea for example still sounds as fresh today as when it was released, and its sweet harmonies and gentle imagery is folky-pop at it’s very best.
But this is one of the only moments on the album where you get a truly normal song. The rest is so diverse that each song feels as though it’s taken a genre and thrown the rule book out the window – in other words, a record that really keeps you on your toes. Written in the Stars takes a sample and works magic with it, From the Floorboards up and Wake Up the Nation are balls out rock with little hooks of Weller genius, and Echoes Round the Sun gives late 90s indie dance a makeover, backed up with a little help from Noel Gallagher.
Not being content with just the genres mentioned above, an album highlight is No Tears To Cry – An ode to Northern Soul at its best, with plinky guitars and filled with delightful dancehall sounds that will have you twisting on the spot. Mr Weller also treats us to a couple of new tracks, the best being Brand New Toy. Reminiscent of The Kinks, its melody twists and turns until you don’t know where you are – magical, insightful music that shows he’s still got it.
Credit must be given to Weller for not sticking to one style throughout his whole career. He’s chopped and changed with his mood, and done it in such a way as to bring out the best in himself and the music. A true artist doesn’t just rely on the past, but tries new things and influences to keep themselves sane. The great artists do this seamlessly, and although More Modern Classics won’t have as many tracks that non-fans will recognise, its and album that’s testament to Weller’s invention and genius.