Paul Wellar – Stanley Road (1995)

July 5, 2008 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Album Review, Albums Rated 8/10 | Leave a comment
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RATING: 8/10

With Stanley Road Paul Weller has managed to prove to his fans and his critics that he is still an important musician even in his solo days. He hasn’t just written 12 good songs, instead, he’s written one great album. A factor in any great album is the overall feel that perpetuates each song, making them all feel as though they deserve their place and complimenting the songs that come before and after them.

A mostly guitar driven album, Weller fuses good solos and riffs with his usual effective lyrics, often ending a song with a long instrumental that gently ushers in the next song, which gladly and competently carries the album along. However, there is the occasional song that primarily uses the piano evoking another great feel. Though these songs are quite different from the guitar based ones, they seem to come at just the right points in the album so that, not only are they a nice change of direction, but also they effortlessly fit in.  To truly appreciate this fine album start at the beginning and just let it play on to the end. It far outweighs the sum of its parts, and as these parts are so good, you’re in for a great journey.

The Changing Man This was a hit in the UK and is a good indication into how this album will sound.  There are some great little examples of guitar work going on here, more will follow throughout the rest of the tracks. Listen to The Changing Man

Porcelain Gods- This songs brings the mellow vibe with its gentle electric guitar opening.  The highlights are the lyrics; ‘How disappointed I was to turn out after all, just a porcelain god, that shatters when it falls’.

Walk On Guilded Splinters- Another slow bluesy track that follows on nicely from the previous.  Again, the lyrics shine above all in this song.  Wellar really does have a way of writing some interesting lyrics and his delivery of them are always great.  The track ends with a slow jam that trickles to the end.  Not a great tune, more of a little jam session that made it onto the album.

You Do Something To Me-From the beautiful piano intro we immediately know that we are going to hear something different in this song than wat was heard in the previous tracks.  Simple and effective lyrics and likewise in the piano and guitars make this song so beautiful.  A major standout on the album, absolutely heaven. Listen to You Do Something To Me

Woodcutter’s Son-Back with a rocking guitar intro, a piano quickly joins in and we’re back with a more upbeat tempo.  This tune is quite catchy, and Wellars gruff voice shines throughout.  Again, another track that ends with a long jam.

Time Passes-A lovely intro, great lyrics and a lovely mellow feel to it.  I always forget about this track whenever I think about this album, but when it comes on I just fall in love with it all over again.

Stanley Road-The intro will have you tappin your feat to the piano and drum, another catchy little number.  Despite the fact that this is the title song, it isn’t anything too special.  There is nothing wrong with it but there isn’t that certain somethin that makes it stand out.

Broken Stones-Broken Stones is another simple yet beautiful track.  Wellar can write great songs with great guitar parts that rock and groove but songs like this prove he can strip it all down and write a track that has the beauty and passion that other artists can.

Out Of The Sinking-A very bluesy song and once again some good lyrics.  This song really suits Wellar’s style of singing, I find he has a really underrated voice.

Pink On White Walls-I really like this song, though it is by no means one of the best on this album.  It surely is underrated, it is borderline mediocre but i think it just manages to get on the right sode of the line.

Whirlpools’ End-Overral I dont rate this song, but there are some good parts to it.  I find it really gets good about 2 minutes in.  I do love the jam that appears at the end for at least 4 minutes.  Would be nice to play along in the studio.

Wings Of Speed-The final song is a strange one to end with, it has a gospek feel and almost sounds like nothing else on the album, save for the piano that was present in some of the songs.  I really love this song, again simplistic and beautiful, Paul’s voice holds it’s own and the background singing is just fabulous.  This song is too short, it needs to have a few more minutes of it.  I just love it. Listen to Wings Of Speed

Pulp-Different Class (1995)

June 25, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Album Review, Albums Rated 9/10 | Leave a comment
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RATING: 9/10

In 1995 Pulp managed to do three great things. First off, they gave a fantastic performance at Glastonbury that put the other acts to shame. Secondly, they released Different Class and thirdly, Jarvis Cocker invaded a Michael Jackson performance at the Brits. Well, ok, maybe two great things.

In the mid-nineties the media, and thousands of ‘sheep’ trying to be cool by following everyone else, were hyping the battle for best album between Blur and Oasis. Unfortunately, both bands failed to deliver anything thought provoking or different. What’s The Story (Morning Glory) was a good album, filled with anthems for a generation, but lacked any real depth to it and was weaker than Oasis’ debut effort.  The Great Escape by Blur again was weaker than its predecessor Of course, those thousands rushed out and bought them and raved about them in all the ‘cool’ music magazines.

However, 1995 produced at least two better albums. One was Stanley Road by Paul Weller and this one.

The first thing that makes this album stand out is the lyrics. Cocker is a master of writing witty lyrics that make you laugh and smile and are also a brilliant observation on everyday life. He writes about anxiety, struggles, frustrations, excitement, love and bewilderment and his singing pushes this to an extra level where you can feel all of this emotion in his performance. A clear contrast to when he is talking in a near-monotone voice. The songs and Cocker’s singing contain so much energy where needed and the quality of the vocals can be surprising sometimes.

All the songs are truly fantastic, over ten years on and they still sound just as good. It was a breath of fresh air when it was released and maybe it is because it doesn’t sound like the rest of the ‘Brit-pop’ that it doesn’t sound dated.
Pulp go to show that it is ok to look nerdy and to be different than what is considered cool. Cocker is a vast contrast to Liam Gallagher and yet he displays a presence whilst performing on stage that Liam could never achieve, with a voice that can portray more emotion than most of the ‘cool’ bands around at that time. Different Class? Yes. Better Class? Definitely.

Track listing:

1. Mis-Shapes: A catchy anthem for people who look ‘different’ saying how it’s ok to look geeky and not as cool as the rest of the crowd, and how these people are going to take over someday. Listen to Mis-Shapes

2. Pencil Skirt:  A pleasant little tune about Jarvis, a girl and the problems of young love.

3. Common People:  This tune was the anthem in Britain during the summer of 1995. Common People quickly became the ‘anthem’ of the year, and rightly so. It was more infectious than anything Blur or Oasis had to offer that year. Awesome lyrics, fantastic vocals and brilliant melodies.  Even the amount of times this was over played on the radio couldn’t kill its effectiveness and brilliance. Listen to common-people

4. I Spy:  More great lyrics, haunting undertones and another excellent example of Cocker’s vocal prowess, his low tones give this song its edge.

5. Disco 2000:  Very catchy disco tune that you can’t get out of your head, more great humorous lyrics.

6. Live Bed Show: A song that grows on you, tells an interesting story.

7. Something Changed:  A run of the mill love song that sounds a bit out of place but still a nice little tune.

8. Sorted For E’s & Whizz:  A song about going to raves and the morning after, lovely tune and interesting images left in the mind.

9. F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E:  An odd song that isn’t without its good points, takes a while to get going though.

10. Underwear:  The angst of teenage love is expressed in this great song.  Great lyrics and stunning vocals. Listen to Underwear

11. Monday Morning: Catchy upbeat tune, lyrics are top notch.

12. Bar Italia:  This one really grew on me, a nice end to a fantastic album.


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