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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. [Also available here with three additional tracks on the CD, "Horseshoe Drama," "Push Button, Automatic," and "Talisman." A bonus DVD is also included with three live songs and two videos.]

Customer Reviews

Illumination

This record is a happy record dispite its cover picture.I found myself putting this on alot It is another very good well written Weller record. A very underated Artist

Since the Jam Paul Weller has done it right...

As the title suggests, I have listened to Paul Weller make music since his days with The Jam, followed The Style Council, and was happy to hear his solo music. I have to admit though, the spark left him as he searched for new ground in life and creativity. The early albums of his solo career did not take with me at first. I find this ablum to be so well grounded. It shows the edge in lyrics he had early in his career, the creativity in rock hooks, and overall he just sounds down right comfortable in his skin again. This may be one of my favorites of his solo career. If you have never listend to The Jam and like harder music do so today! If you have never caught The Style Council and appreciate sometimes over-produced but definitely amazing lyrics and rambunctious musical endeavors than run and grab My Favorite Shop.

Biography

Born: May 25, 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...
Full Bio