22 Dreams

22 Dreams

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by Paul Weller
     
 

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If eclecticism were a crime, Paul Weller would be rotting away in Britain's Strangeways prison for decades now. Ever since he broke up the new wave /punk trio the Jam in 1982, Weller has followed his own muse exclusively, dodging limiting musical categories. His new 22 Dreams is unsurprisingly all over the map: pure pop, raucous rock, airy exotica, classic R&BSee more details below

Overview

If eclecticism were a crime, Paul Weller would be rotting away in Britain's Strangeways prison for decades now. Ever since he broke up the new wave /punk trio the Jam in 1982, Weller has followed his own muse exclusively, dodging limiting musical categories. His new 22 Dreams is unsurprisingly all over the map: pure pop, raucous rock, airy exotica, classic R&B, and folk rock are all convincingly essayed, only to be left on the wayside until their creator returns to them when the mood strikes him. And yet, somehow, it all holds together. Credit it to a Weller's authoritative voice; literally, as an emotive and adaptable singer free of affectation and as a craftsman who can imbue differing styles with unmistakable personal touches. Weller's influences are hidden in plain sight (hear how Weller "transforms" the Electric Prune's immortal "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night" into the winking title track) yet this gleeful musical packrat has a knack for artfully sculpting the sounds of the past into contemporary pleasures much like peak era Todd Rundgren. So the shifting, spacey grooves (complete with piano and trumpet work from the legendary Robert Wyatt) of the instrumental tribute to Alice Coltrane ("Song for Alice") can somehow rest easily between the heartbreaking ballad "Invisible," with Weller eloquently accompanying himself on piano, and the neo-classic soul "Cold Moments," itself so reminiscent of Weller's accessible Style Council work. Musical schmorgasbords can often veer from embarrassments of riches to mere embarrassments, but the satisfactions of 22 Dreams match its abundance.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Of all the many things Paul Weller has done in his career, he has somehow managed to survive three decades without a double album to his credit. 22 Dreams rectifies that wrong, offering a luxurious sprawl that's proudly, staunchly classicist, just like Weller's solo career itself. Weller's embrace of rock & roll tradition might suggest that he has taken his double album as an opportunity to offer a summation of his career, to summarize where he's been and perhaps where he's going. Tempting though this may be, especially given the record's elastic, elegant eclecticism, this isn't quite a self-conscious summation, nor is it quite a risk-taking tour de force in the vein of The White Album, even though this encompasses everything from fragile folk to the resurrection of the sophisticated collegiate jazz of the Style Council. Instead, 22 Dreams has a floating romantic quality that justifies the dreams of the title, drifting from sound to sound, sometimes taking elaborate detours, sometimes stopping for a brief picturesque sideshow. In some ways, it's the flip of the piledriving As Is Now, where Weller indulged in harder inclinations, as this finds Weller exploring his softer side, often in ways he hasn't quite done before. There's still a crustiness to Weller -- he'll get sensitive, but he won't get sappy -- but there's an openness to 22 Dreams, in how he eases into a Curtis Mayfield homage as comfortably as he pays tribute to Alice Coltrane with Robert Wyatt in tow. Wyatt isn't the only guest here, either, as Weller expands his core band -- without leaving right-hand man guitarist Steve Craddock -- with cameos by Graham Coxon and Noel Gallagher (only he could unite these Brit-pop foes), the latter collaborating on a thick, hazy psychedelic "Echoes Round the Sun." This is about as dense as 22 Dreams gets, as it has a lighter touch, so graceful that it can disguise the number of styles Weller touches upon here, as he skips from electronica and pastoral jams lingering from Wild Wood to jazz and soul. Initially, this doesn't sound radical -- it is recognizably of a piece with his solo work, fitting neatly alongside either Stanley Road or Illumination -- but more listens reveal just how finely textured and woven this tapestry is. And although it shares superficial sonic similarities with his other records, 22 Dreams is really unlike any of Weller's other albums, as it's rich in sound and feeling, possessing a shimmering dreamy quality. It's an album to get lost in.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/22/2008
Label:
Yep Roc Records
UPC:
0634457218925
catalogNumber:
2189
Rank:
124176

Tracks

  1. Light Nights  - Paul Weller
  2. 22 Dreams  - Paul Weller
  3. All I Wanna Do (Is Be with You)  - Paul Weller
  4. Have You Made Up Your Mind  - Paul Weller
  5. Empty Ring  - Paul Weller
  6. Invisible  - Paul Weller
  7. Song for Alice  - Paul Weller
  8. Cold Moments  - Paul Weller
  9. The Dark Pages of September Lead to the New Leaves of Spring  - Paul Weller
  10. Black River  - Paul Weller
  11. Why Walk When You Can Run  - Paul Weller
  12. Push It Along  - Paul Weller
  13. A Dream (Reprise)  - Paul Weller
  14. Echoes Round the Sun  - Paul Weller
  15. One Bright Star  - Paul Weller
  16. Lullaby für Kinder  - Paul Weller
  17. Where'er Ye Go  - Paul Weller
  18. God  - Paul Weller
  19. 111  - Paul Weller
  20. Sea Spray  - Paul Weller
  21. Night Lights  - Paul Weller

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paul Weller   Primary Artist
Robert Wyatt   Piano,Trumpet
Graham Coxon   Drums
John McCusker   Violin
Arlia de Ruiter   Violin
Noel Gallagher   Bass,Piano,Mellotron,Wurlitzer
Steve Cradock   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Mandolin,Percussion,Piano,Celeste,Drums,Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Mellotron,Bazouki
Aziz Ibrahim   Spoken Word
Andy Lewis   Bass,Cello
Charles Rees   Piano,Drums,Harmonium,Moog Synthesizer,Moog Bass
Lorre Lynn Trytten   Violin,Viola
Simon Dine   Guitar,Mandolin,Percussion,Horn,Marimbas,Moog Synthesizer,Performing Ensemble,cowbell,Siren,Moog Bass
Barrie Cadogan   Guitar
Lewis Wharton   Bass,Drums
Steve White   Drums
Gem Archer   Guitar,Mellotron

Technical Credits

Paul Weller   Composer
Noel Gallagher   Composer
Steve Cradock   Composer,Producer
Simon Halfon   Cover Design
Richard Wilkinson   Engineer
Charles Rees   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Simon Dine   Composer,Producer,Orchestration

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