Wake Up the Nation


With a musical career spanning nearly four decades, Paul Weller has certainly earned the respect that would allow him to put out a recording such as his latest - "Wake Up The Nation" - that at times includes the weird and psychedelic poured over the more traditional fare that one comes to expect from the Englishman. In short, the former Jam and Style Council front-man expands and evolves once again in both style and grit. In brilliant fashion, the singer/songwriter opens things up with four tracks of exceptional quality and diversity. The title track - "Wake Up The Nation" is a call to action that finds Weller belting "wake up the nation and don't be not drag/shake up the station and out of their hands." Another one worth mentioning is the beautifully crafted "No Tears To Cry," which includes a vast array of stringed instruments throughout coupled with a sound that might best be described as R&B with a whole lot of soul thrown in as well. While the opening songs grab your attention, sadly the rest of the album falters as it meanders through the weird and often hard to follow. Another song worth some attention, however, is the fast-paced "Find The Torch, Burn the Plans." Here, Weller utilizes a community choir on a song that inspires the listener to "dream this dream if you can." On the David Byrne sound-a-like "Aim High," Weller creates perhaps the most complex musical arrangement here to elicit a sound that works well. While Weller can be commended for pushing the envelope once again, unfortunately while the experimentation continues, the quality gradually diminishes throughout the sixteen song set. Still, on those tracks that do work, keep in mind that they work really well and warrant some spins. ~ Reviewed by Jeff Bouma

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