Arthur Lizie, Jr. [+]
Bridgewater State University
Over the past four-plus decades as a songwriter and performer, Paul Weller has amassed one of the deepest and most musically diverse catalogs of popular music. Although a self-proclaimed “changingman,” at the core of Weller’s work there is a remarkable consistency: a dedication to the belief that pop music matters. Topping the UK albums charts seven times, Weller’s output stretches from the singles-driven power pop of the legendary trio The Jam to the controversial political interventions of soul collective The Style Council to more than 30 years as a (usually) traditional solo rock act. Already a legend, in this latter period his recognition by 1990s Britpop stars including Oasis and Blur as The Modfather cemented his iconic status. Avoiding a strict chronology, this is the first book offering a critical look at Paul Weller’s career. It begins with an examination of Weller’s dedication to a self-defined modernism in all its forms, from The Jam’s mod roots to The Style Council’s rejected LP Modernism: A New Decade to his solo-period hits albums and bespoke fashion line. It continues with a look at Weller’s dedication to experimentation and risk, from continual dance and electronic music explorations to his strident political activism of the 1980s. The next chapter considers Weller words as an interviewee and lyricist, exploring his evolving thematic concerns including location (from the urban to the rural to off-planet), masculinity, and politics. The final chapter looks back at the influences that made Weller, Weller’s influence as The Modfather , his success in avoiding simple heritage act status, and, finally, his contemporary standing and ultimate legacy.