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Illumination

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Album Review

Paul Weller doesn't try anything explicitly new on his sixth solo album, Illumination, or at least it seems that way at first. It's firmly grounded in the soulful singer/songwriter style that he etched out on Wild Wood, but there are several subtle differences that give it its own character. As it turns out, Heliocentric was indeed a bit of a creative rebirth, signaling a return to stronger songwriting plus a willingness to play around with the arrangements. During the Stanley Road/Heavy Soul phase, it would have been unthinkable for Weller to loop a horn sample for a song's main hook as he does on "It's Written in the Stars," but he not only does that, he offers it as a lead single. And the horn sample is a good indication of where the sound of Illumination lies. There is little of the British folk and prog overtones of Heliocentric here, and soul takes the center stage; even when a track isn't explicitly soulful, it has a warm, welcoming vibe reminiscent of late-'60s/early-'70s soul. When the album drifts, as it does on the largely instrumental "Spring (At Last)," it's for atmosphere, enhancing the open, warm feel of the record. Even when Weller tears loose on occasion — flashing violent rage on the rampaging "A Bullet for Everyone," for instance, or fiercely playing his guitar — it functions as an effective counterpoint, emphasizing the comforting feel of the majority of the album. Best of all, it all feels effortless (unlike, say, the labored efforts of his peer, Elvis Costello, on his 2002 release When I Was Cruel), from the production to the songwriting. This is unlikely to be a huge hit, like Stanley Road, nor will it likely win many new fans, but that's not the point of Illumination. This, like any Weller album, is a snapshot of Weller's mood at the time, and it finds him aging gracefully and appealingly. Anybody who's gone this far with him will surely find it very satisfying.

Customer Reviews

lighting up the fire!

Luv weller for his pure spirit. The album to be true is good and bad......3&4 are good, but i would buy no12, lots of passion which i luv from the man.

illuminated 2006

OK, so it's not Stanley Rd, it's not even As is Now and it wasn't a massive hit at it's first release. But I dont think PW expected it to be any of these. This is the second time round for me after buying the original CD and adding the extra tracks (14,15 and 16), and hey I like it! worth a 2nd listen. Stand out tracks, bullet 4 everyone, All good books and Standing out in the universe. Still all sounds fresh though. As PW keeps making new music there'll be plenty of tracks for Modern Classics 2 in circa 2010. Leave the constant Greatest Hits albums to the one hit wonders!!

Grows over time

In recent months I have been playing this album on and off and I think this is a real grower. This was a slight change of direction for Paul, but still brilliant. Highlights are, "One+one, come On let's go".

Biography

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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