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Heavy Soul

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Album Review

Like Stanley Road before it, Heavy Soul is more about vibe than songs. There are a few sharply written tracks here and there, but what's important is the rootsy, stripped-down atmosphere. Paul Weller's soul and R&B influences reign supreme on Heavy Soul, yet they are filtered through late-'60s psychedelia, blues-rock and prog folk, as he takes songs into extended instrumental jams. The band sounds tight, but Weller has suffered a bit of a songwriting slump, which is evidenced by the handful of keepers that form the core of the album. "Up in Suze's Room" is a hazy, folky gem, the soulful apology "I Should Have Been There to Inspire You" is affecting, and "Peacock Suit" is a fine "Changing Man" rewrite, but too much of Heavy Soul is concerned with texture instead of content. That doesn't make it a difficult listen — in fact, it's quite entertaining while it's playing — but there isn't much to explore on repeated plays.

Customer Reviews

Not the place to start

This album is rather stodgy and repetitive-this pretty much marked the point where Weller stopped being considered a demigod and started being described as dadrock, a position which has only really changed recently with the release of the all over the place (in a good way) 22 Dreams. Some of Heavy Soul is wondrous (Peacock Suit,Mermaids) other bits less so. Get Wild Wood and Stanley Road first.

soul lifting

This is a true classic....if you don't like suzie's room don't buy.....if you do, get it just for this track. it's a one and only. Peacock & friday are excellent. He is a one & only....keep writing & singing.

More Like "Heavy Going"

Despite the title of this review, I do like this album because you can hear Weller trying to change tack a bit, especially the strings in both parts of the title track. Beware, as there are some of his weakest songs here, but the first 5 tracks plus "Heavy Soul Part 2" and "Friday Street" certainly outweigh the duds. The lyrics are a bit earnest, but I remember hearing him being interviewed at the time and I think he was in the middle of one of his battles with the music press, so it can sound like he's trying to justify himself on some songs. But he's never one to take criticism lightly is he ? I hope he doesn't read my review of "Stanley Road", else I'll never meet him ;-)


Born: 25 May 1958 in Woking, Surrey, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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