Yep Rock Records, 2008
By Ron Raymond
WMPG Music Director
Once the musical force behind two memorable 80s bands, The Jam and The Style Council, Paul Weller has since made taken his Brit pop/rock to all different kinds of levels. His new album, his ninth solo effort titled 22 Dreams, is no exception. “After [2005’s] As Is Now, I thought the time was right to make the sort of record I wanted to make,” he says of the creative process which led to the new album. “Instead of worrying about anyone else, I wanted to really push the boat out. I think the result is going to surprise a few people.”
Well, he’s probably right. 22 Dreams goes all over the map, from the string-laden, alt-folk opener “Light Nights” and the lovely “Where’er Ye Go” to the pop of “Empty Ring” to straight up rock and roll on “All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You)” and “Have You Made Up Your Mind” to crooning on “Invisible” to the spoken-word ditty “God” to echoing back to his old Jam days on the title track to the experimental “111” to the brilliant classical tribute to the late wife of John Coltrane, “Song For Alice” (she passed away in February 2007), with Robert Wyatt of Soft Machine lending his efforts on trumpet and piano.
Ex-Blur guitarist Graham Coxon appears on the piano-heavy “Black River,” and 22 Dreams also features guest appearances from Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer from Oasis on the 60s-influenced “Echoes Around The Sun,” which was co-written by Weller and Gallagher.
22 Dreams may be the album Paul Weller has always wanted to do, but I think it will the album people will want to hear again and again. Just a wonderful piece of work from the man who brought us “Going Underground,” “My Ever Changing Moods” and “A Town Called Malice” – songs that have been cherished for many years. I think the same will apply for the songs on 22 Dreams in the years to come