Paul Weller has made his bones as a man looking forward and back. The Jam was a “youth explosion” built on riffs and themes of a Britain ten years in the past. Style Council was neo-soul, with not a lot of emphasis on the neo. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when the Mod Father dabbles a bit in some vintage sounds. But this? Erm…
Layered synths and throbbing bass float this song along with punches of distorted guitar. Should Gary Numan make a cameo, I’m not sure anyone would notice. I get that the kids are all gaga for the 80s, but I’m not sure if this is the modern world I was hoping for.
When I was a kid—and I mean, when I was eight or nine years old—I told anyone who would listen that if I ever had kids I would name them after The Beatles. And I meant all of The Beatles, even Ringo. But I was a kid and what did I know? I grew up and realized it was ridiculous to name my kids after my favorite band.
Paul Weller on the other hand is welcoming his twin sons Bowie and John Paul into the world this week. The 53 year old former frontman of The Jam announced their birth via his website.
Don’t get me wrong, I love music and understand how deeply our favorite artists can touch us. But isn’t it a bit childish to be so blatant about it? I mean, it’s not like I have a son named after a famous musician. Oh, wait…
The big news with Paul Weller‘s tenth solo album is that it finds him working with bassist Bruce Foxton on two new songs, and as any real Jam fan will admit, this is probably as close to a Jam reunion as we’ll ever see.
The story behind 2/3’s of the Jam collaboration is, unfortunately, based in tragedy: Weller recently lost his father and Foxton his wife. The good news is that loss has not only prompted Weller to rekindle with former bandmates, but to reconnect with the sounds of his past to create an audio scrapbook that has him creatively moving forwards.
“My faith has been sure inspired / I’m schooled in the textile time,” Weller declares right out of the gate, hinting at the fire under his ass as of late and the impressiveness of his wardrobe collection.
Like most youth movements, Mod fashion and culture is cyclical. What started as a response to traditionalist jazzboes has been hashed and rehashed again and re-imagined every ten years or so. While some of the music and fashion designers change from one wave to the next, the one thing that doesn’t is the pure Britishness of it all.
As an artist, Pete Townshend has a particular eye for revision. He also has a particular eye for trends and the Mod movements have been critical to The Who‘s development and legacy over the years. The band’s initial rise in England can be traced to its adoption of Mod clothing and attitudes. It’s ability to not simply wash out to sea like so many of its British Invasion contemporaries in the early 70s can be traced to it’s masterful recording of the era in another Townshend “rock opera” that helped spawn another Mod wave in 1973.