Posts tagged ‘paul weller’

February 4, 2011

Formative Fridays: Keeping It Real w/Paul Weller

Every Friday I’d like to highlight an (older) artist that had an incredibly powerful, formative way with my listening habits and general music sensibilities. We’re talking Ultimate Emotional Impact. I’m not going to start this week with the first time I ever remember falling in love with music (for the curious, that was in 2001, while taking in Eric Clapton on his Derek and the Dominos sidetrack “Layla” with my new headphones & Sony Discman) or even my favorite band (that would be Blur and there’s much that’s going to be said about them elsewhere) but rather, focus on another influence that looms large over me even now.

It’s not much of a secret to the people that know me, this unpopular opinion: the Style Council is my favorite of Paul Weller’s musical efforts. That’s far more than British national treasure The Jam (they’re too… incoherent for me personally, I don’t know) and even his solo efforts, though I do find Wild Wood unbearably lovely because it throws into highlight my favorite thing about Weller- his voice. He can snarl like you’d expect Weller of The Jam to snarl, but he can also be impeccably tender on his own. The Style Council is like a weird experiment that falls in between the two poles of pub rocker and father of … mod pastoral soul, whatever it is they like to refer to Wild Wood as.

The Style Council’s overall output is an ultimately messy compilation of Paul’s influences- interests and whims- the band borrowed freely from soul, jazz, rhythm and blues, incorporating different styles and flavors before eventually taking a heavier synth-bent (it was Britain, and the 80s, that’s to be expected). Someone once said to me, “when the Style Council were bad they were very bad, but when they were good they were brilliant”, and I think it’s a pretty apt summary. I tend to overlook the embarrassing alleyways of their legacy because my favorite tracks are so affecting. Paul Weller himself believed in them- “I had a total belief in The Style Council. I was obsessed in the early years. I lived and breathed it all. I meant every word, and felt every action.”

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