Paul Weller, 22 Dreams

Paul Weller, 22 Dreams

If you don’t know Paul Weller, then you’re not really listening to music. If you’ve been alive for more than 15 years and still don’t know who Paul Weller is, then you’re beyond help altogether.

22 Dreams is a genre-twisting, sprawling double LP of 22 tracks, and not since Stanley Road has Weller entered into such experimental waters. Whereas Stanley Road left much to be desired, 22 will leave you wanting more. In fact, I still haven’t stopped listening to it. (I won’t stop listening to it, either!) I keep finding new and great things all throughout it.

Though Weller is painting a bit outside the lines on this effort, that doesn’t mean this is anything esoteric or far-out. Rather, Weller masterfully takes on whatever genre he chooses to dabble in and uses it beautifully, whether it’s folk, blues, rock, country, epic soundtracks, tear-streaked ballads, a bit of cabaret, even spoken word. And nobody does spoken word well — nobody. Except Paul Weller.

“Light Nights,” the initial track, sure scared me. I was excited to explore this record, to take in all that information, and there Weller comes at me with this left-field folksy number that seems completely out of order. Wouldn’t the title track have been more fitting? A soulsy rave-up of the likes that helped defined Weller’s sound, an exciting and jumpy statement of intent? As I soon found out, however, even though there is some methodology here, these songs are fused together in some sort of way that just works. It’s not tempo, theme, or anything else; just colors and textures that add up to something special.

Tracks are bound together by the occasional instrumental interlude that, like bit of some stream-of-consciousness rambling, carries one thought seamlessly into the next. Standout numbers like “Have You Made Up Your Mind,” “Empty Ring,” “Invisible,” “Echoes Round The Sun,” “Push It Along,” and “Sea Spray” are sure to be some of the finer fixtures in Weller’s future repertoire. Certainly, they should also be in yours. In fact, anything left over is simply too strong; I can’t just list every song title here and let it go at that. This is Paul Weller, this is a master, a true artist in an age of very few, and a document manifesting and re-affirming what we’ve known all along, that he’s untouchable amongst his peers. This is the summer album of 2008 — hell, it could very well be the album of 2008. If you hear it, you’ll agree.

(Yep Roc Records -- P.O. Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC. 27515-4821;; Paul Weller --
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Review by . Review posted Wednesday, July 30th, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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