|Paul Weller, looking dapper as usual.|
|Paul Weller crushing it on stage.|
I compiled a “Best of Paul Weller: The Solo Years” mix CD back in January, and Weller has so many great songs from his solo albums that I had to make it a two-disc set. The songs on this CD are still very good; they just didn’t quite make the cut for the first disc. Since Paul Weller just issued “More Modern Classics,” a new greatest hits compilation that covers the years 1999 to the present, I thought now would be a good time to post my own compilation.
Here are the tracks that I put on “The Best of Paul Weller: The Solo Years, Volume 2.”
3. Foot of the Mountain
4. Stanley Road
5. Time Passes
6. Pink on White Walls
7. A Year Late
8. Going Places
9. Who Brings Joy
10. Now the Night Is Here
11. One X One
13. Push Button, Automatic
14. Paper Smile
15. Wishing on a Star
16. One Bright Star
17. Have You Made Up Your Mind
18. Black River
20. No Tears to Cry
21. The Piper
Here are some comments about the songs:
“Clues,” from “Paul Weller,” 1992: A jazzy song from Weller’s first solo album, featuring a flute solo. The song starts with Weller crooning, “I’ll meet you on a bus at dawn/an open-topped one if it’s warm.”
“Sunflower,” from “Wild Wood,” 1993: A funky song, with some great guitar work. I love the sound of the drums on this song.
“Foot of the Mountain,” from “Wild Wood,” 1993: A lovely acoustic song, performed by Paul solo with guitar.
“Stanley Road,” from “Stanley Road,” 1995: The driving title track from one of Weller’s best albums, with pounding piano, the lyrics deal with Weller’s childhood memories of the neighborhood he grew up in.
“Time Passes,” from “Stanley Road,” 1995: A beautiful ballad. It’s a tender song about meeting an ex-girlfriend on the street. One of my favorite Weller ballads.
“Pink on White Walls,” from “Stanley Road,” 1995: A jaunty, delightful, Alan Price-like number.
“A Year Late,” bonus track on “Stanley Road,” 1995: This song has a hypnotic melody and strings backing Weller’s guitar. It’s a song about unrequited love, as Weller sings, “Is it true, what I feel for you/wish I could help it through/so you could feel it too.” “A Year Late” really should have been on the “Stanley Road” album.
“Going Places,” from “Illumination,” 2002: The kind of bright, summery song that Weller can seemingly turn out at will.
“Who Brings Joy,” from “Illumination,” 2002: A gentle song that shares a lyrical theme with the Nat King Cole song “Nature Boy.” Weller sings, “And all you ask/in return/is to be loved/and love you I must,” which echoes “The greatest thing/you will ever learn/is just to love/and be loved in return” from “Nature Boy.”
“Now the Night is Here,” from “Illumination,” 2002: Another excellent Weller tune about falling in love, as he sings, “Let’s you and I blow gently on/the embers of today/now the night is here to tell us/to be in love.” I’m betting that this song worked it’s magic on females Weller sang it to.
“One X One,” from “Illumination,” 2002: Very catchy song, I love the lyrics “Like electric lights in a ballroom scene/going on one times one.”
“Illumination,” from “Illumination,” 2002: Yes, another song from “Illumination,” Weller’s excellent 2002 album. But the guy just keeps writings catchy songs with great melodies and good lyrics! A great guitar pattern gives this song it’s hook. I love the way Weller lightly sings “cha” as the guitar riff plays-it just sounds so perfect.
“Push Button, Automatic,” bonus track on “Illumination,” 2002: Weller enters Kinks territory here, as he channels Ray Davies in writing a song about a guy who starts spending all of his time online. Weller sings, “Just a push button, automatic kind of guy/looking at the liquid crystal night after night/chat room hard core looking to find/my wrists are aching on screen I’m faking.” It’s a very funny song, and one that’s even more relevant now in 2014 than it was in 2002.
“Paper Smile,” from “As Is Now,” 2005: “What’s in a life/if you don’t live it?” Weller asks in this rocker, from his superb album “As Is Now.”
“Wishing on a Star,” from the live album “Catch-Flame!” 2006: This is the only cover I included on the 2 discs. It’s a gorgeous cover of a 1978 song from the R&B group Rose Royce. Weller gives the song a soulful reading, and it’s a good fit for his style. Features excellent guitar work from Steve Cradock.
“One Bright Star,” from “22 Dreams,” 2008: Continuing the “star” theme, this is a Spanish-tinged song from “22 Dreams.”
“Have You Made Up Your Mind,” from “22 Dreams,” 2008: A catchy, funky tune that finds Weller pining after a girl. “There’s a love light breaking through the dawn/but where will I be when morning comes?”
“Black River,” from “22 Dreams,” 2008: Tuneful song with nice lyrics, as Weller sings, “The story’s still unfolding and like the river rolling/it’s always moving like the tide/seemingly unchanging/but of course nothing stays the same you’ll see.”
“Moonshine,” from “Wake Up the Nation,” 2010: A rollicking song from Weller’s aggressive album “Wake Up the Nation.” A pounding piano accompanies Weller as he spews out lyrics about being “A bag of nerves/I seem to suppress.”
“No Tears to Cry,” from “Wake Up the Nation,” 2010: I like “Wake Up the Nation” a lot, but I feel that it’s songs go very well together, so it’s difficult for me to pick songs off the album for a compilation. This is a soul-influenced tune with a nice groove.
“The Piper,” bonus track on “Sonik Kicks,” 2012: This is a throwback to 1960’s soul, with a very funky bass line. The lyrics are very 60’s too, as Weller sings, “On the promise of tomorrow I was swept along.” It’s a lovely song, and a very nice way to finish off the CD.