Artist – Album: Paul Weller – Wild Wood
Released: 6th September 1993
Sounds Like: very rustic, very British, very Weller
First there was The Jam: literate, modish punk rock legends who infamously led the upset BBC DJ Tony Blackburn to opine “It's disgusting the way punks sing about violence. Why can't they sing about trees and flowers?”. Then there was The Style Council: experimental, Motown obsessed sophisti-poppers whose recordings had a typically Eighties sheen. Finally, Paul Weller (who would be known as Paul Well-‘Ard if he was a cockney gangster) decided to go it alone, blending elements from both of his previous incarnations to form a mixed but distinct new sound.
There’s a dichotomy to the two best known songs from this album too – ‘Sunflower’ is an electric rocker, with the powerful refrain of “And I miss you so” in the chorus full of Steve Marriott-esque soul. ‘Wild Wood’, meanwhile, is an acoustic led folk masterpiece, guiding the listener through autumnal, rustic chords and lyrics of self-doubt and soul searching. (Incidentally, my sister when she was younger used to sing along to the title track with “waa waa woo”. As ever, it’s hard to know exactly what was going on in that little head of hers…). The rest of the album follows in a similar vein, with pastoral folk sitting comfortably alongside passionate rockers, with a few trippy instrumentals thrown in for good measure.
Wild Wood wasn’t quite the most commercially successful album of his solo career, but it’s certainly the one that has had the greatest impact. Whereas The Jam had influenced groups such as the Smiths, Wild Wood opened up the doors for the likes of Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast; and Paul Weller was proclaimed as the godfather (or Modfather) of the burgeoning Sixties-fixated Britpop scene.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
1. Sunflower – 4:06
2. Can You Heal Us (Holy Man) – 3:41
3. Wild Wood – 3:22
4. Instrumental (Part 1) – 1:37
5. All the Pictures on the Wall – 3:56
6. Has My Fire Really Gone Out? – 3:50
7. Country – 3:39
8. Instrumental Two – 0:50
9. 5th Season – 4:45
10. The Weaver – 3:43
11. Instrumental One (Part 2) – 0:34
12. Foot of the Mountain – 3:37
13. Shadow of the Sun – 7:36
14. Holy Man (reprise) – 1:50
15. Moon on Your Pyjamas – 4:00
16. Hung Up – 2:49
Listen to ‘All the Pictures on the Wall’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOOB0p2r7D0