True Meanings Paul Weller
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- 1The Soul Searchers05:01
- 5Old Castles03:20
- 6What Would He Say?04:00
- 9Wishing Well04:36
- 10Come Along03:03
- 12Movin On04:31
- 13May Love Travel With You03:01
- 14White Horses05:24
Info for True Meanings
To put it simply, ‘True Meanings’, the fourteenth Paul Weller solo album, the twenty sixth studio album of his entire career, is a record unlike any he has ever made before.
‘True Meanings’, is released on September 14th and is an album characterised by grandiose-yet-delicate, lush orchestration: an aesthetic to which Paul’s better-than-ever voice, singing some of his most nakedly honest words, is perfectly suited. A dreamy, peaceful, pastoral set of songs to get lost in, it is both an album that a lot of his faithful audience have been wanting him to make for a long time, and an album that many new people outside of that audience will relate to.
On the 25th May this year, Paul Weller turned 60: a milestone that has unquestionably had an impact on the feel, both lyrically and musically, of ‘True Meanings’ which comes across being the most singer-songwriter-style album he has ever made. However, it is also the most collaborative: with more guests than any record he’s been involved in before.
As well as all the members of Weller’s band, Rod Argent of the Zombies provides Hammond organ on ‘The Soul Searchers’ and piano and Mellotron on ‘White Horses’; folk legends Martin Carthy and Danny Thompson add picked guitar and double bass respectively to ‘Come Along’; Little Barrie plays lead guitar on ‘Old Castles’; Lucy Rose sings backup on ‘Books’; and ‘Movin On’ is the result of a “scratchy demo”on Paul’s phone that was sent to Tom Doyle of the White Label project. Even Noel Gallagher makes a sneaky appearance.
Perhaps most surprisingly of all, especially given how personal and introspective ‘True Meanings’ feels, lyrics for four of the fourteen songs here were written, to Weller’s melodies, by others. Connor O’Brien from Villagers came up with the words to opener ‘The Soul Searchers’, while ‘Bowie’, ‘Wishing Well’ and the closing ‘White Horses’ are all the work, lyrically, of Erland Cooper from Erland & The Carnival.
‘True Meanings’ was produced by Paul Weller except ‘The Soul Searchers’, which was co-produced by Paul and Conor O’Brien and ‘Movin On’ which was co-produced by Weller and White Label. The album was engineered and recorded by Charles Rees and mixed by Jan Stan Kybert.
The album was recorded in just over 3 weeks at Paul’s own Black Barn Studio, with the aforementioned, revolving cast of characters dropping in for a day here and there. The orchestration was added soon after, and that was that. It is always a good sign when the recording of an album is swift, and here you can just hear that the man at the centre of these songs is as focused and inspired – more inspired, even – than he has ever been.
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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