Illumination [Bonus Tracks/DVD]

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Paul Weller has always been one to break with convention, whether draping himself in a Union Jack jacket amid punk's sea of leather and safety pins or confounding mod purists with the ever-changing moods of the jazz-inflected Style Council. In recent years, the 40-something Weller has segued into more pensive territory, but his mostly acoustic material retains an incisive edge, particularly when he lets his guard down and mulls what lies deep within, as he does on the album-closing title track. His voice has taken on something of a burnished rasp, evoking Faces-era Rod Stewart or '90s-era Steve Winwood on percolating tracks like "Going Places" and "Leafy Mysteries." ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Paul Weller has always been one to break with convention, whether draping himself in a Union Jack jacket amid punk's sea of leather and safety pins or confounding mod purists with the ever-changing moods of the jazz-inflected Style Council. In recent years, the 40-something Weller has segued into more pensive territory, but his mostly acoustic material retains an incisive edge, particularly when he lets his guard down and mulls what lies deep within, as he does on the album-closing title track. His voice has taken on something of a burnished rasp, evoking Faces-era Rod Stewart or '90s-era Steve Winwood on percolating tracks like "Going Places" and "Leafy Mysteries." Although no longer as overt a sloganeer as he was in his younger days, Weller does conjure up ghosts of In the City on the rough-and-tumble antiwar missive "A Bullet for Everyone." Similarly, the roiling "Bag Man," which follows an ostensibly homeless narrator through his travails, paints a picture every bit as vivid as the one Weller detailed in "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight." And while he's known primarily as a storyteller, Weller takes a stab at expressing himself entirely sans lyrics on "Spring At Last," an Indian-flavored instrumental featuring the sarod playing of former Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim. Guest stars abound -- Noel Gallagher on the dense, driving "One X One," Stereophonics' prime mover Kelly Jones on the bluesy "Call Me #5" -- but Illumination's brightest light is the one shining from deep within Weller himself.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/14/2003
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • UPC: 634457205321
  • Catalog Number: 2053
  • Sales rank: 136,584

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Going Places (3:33)
  2. 2 A Bullet for Everyone (4:10)
  3. 3 Leafy Mysteries (3:06)
  4. 4 It's Written in the Stars (3:10)
  5. 5 Who Brings Joy (3:30)
  6. 6 Now the Night Is Here (3:53)
  7. 7 Spring (At Last) (2:27)
  8. 8 One X One (5:35)
  9. 9 Bag Man (3:21)
  10. 10 All Good Books (3:25)
  11. 11 Call Me No. 5 (3:27)
  12. 12 Standing Out in the Universe (4:50)
  13. 13 Illumination (3:35)
  14. 14 Horseshoe Drama (3:37)
  15. 15 Push Button, Automatic (3:20)
  16. 16 Talisman (3:45)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Sunflower
  2. 2 You Do Something to Me
  3. 3 Standing Out in the Universe
  4. 4 It's Written in the Stars
  5. 5 Leafy Mysteries
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Paul Weller Primary Artist
Jocelyn Brown Vocals
Carleen Anderson Vocals
Noel Gallagher Bass, Percussion, Drums
Steve Cradock Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Classical Guitar
Damon Minchella Bass
Aziz Ibrahim Guitar
Steve White Percussion, Drums
Simon Dine Brass
Technical Credits
Paul Weller Composer, Cover Design
Simon Halfon Cover Design
Kevin Metcalfe Mastering
Steve White Composer
Kelly Jones Composer
Simon Dine Composer, Producer
Sean Alexander Illustrations
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