Paul Weller has been making records since The Jam’s In The City changed punk rock forever in 1977. He’s never released two records that could be considered exactly the same, and his latest, Saturns Pattern, continues that trend.
Weller, 56, explains his ever-evolving sound: “Not that I ever plan it but I always react a bit to what I’ve done last. I don’t want to repeat myself. It’s pointless.”
With that in mind, here’s a track-by-track review. The record drops May 18th.
“These City Streets” is a lazy ode that reminds us of warm nights, make-out sessions in alleyways and furtive city romance. If this doesn’t make you want to get it on, you’re hopeless.
Grinding, screaming guitars, distorted vocals, big arena drums. This is some noisy, structured stuff and a great opening to Paul’s newest effort. The track has its share of Weller-signature, Northern Soul vocals and a healthy dose of psychedelic guitar solos. It’s a soaring track.
The title track features staccato piano and a more spacious, poppy feel. It’s upbeat with a catchy chorus and dirty Hammond organ to pad things out. Things open up and rock a bit halfway in before teasing you with a halting bridge that ultimately rewards you with a fun “Doo doo doo” chorus. Some fun arrangements on this one – we want to see it live.
“Going My Way”
Weller being Weller with some McCartney for kicks and warm piano pads make this ballad an easy listen. Sweet interludes drop into a tightly drummed chorus and some almost doo-wop refrains backed by unmistakable Weller vocals. Intricate arrangements and seemingly endless bridges that eventually lead to a guitar-riffy conclusion make this a complex listen, but it’s worth the trip.
Rock and Fuck’n’ Roll. Crunchy guitars, Weller’s voice up front, simple backing vocals and an instant riff and groove make this track what seems to be a clear early single winner. In and out in two minutes, too. Weller can still craft the rock, and he’s been doing it for – pardon us – a long time. Ahem.
“Pick It Up”
Weller’s pointed to Curtis Mayfield as an influence since his early days, and this soulful number is evidence. Heavy organs and layered guitar riffs make you think you’ve heard this track before but it’s just Weller’s knack for finding a new groove at work. Weller also has a way of reminding us to always be moving forward, and this song’s lyrics are no exception: “Pick up the pieces and put them together again.” Get your shit together, in other words. A good message and a nice midpoint to this summer record.
Still rockin’: Weller jams away in Spain last year.
“I’m Where I Should Be”
Shoegazing vocals and wide-open acoustic guitars set atop electronic pulses makes this track a bit of a throwback to Weller’s last album, Sonik Kicks (2012). A clean, fresh, summery feel gives way to more conventional movements that beg for some sing-along. We’re gushing here, but this track has some staggering production notes (thanks to Jan “Stan” Kybert, we have to guess), and Weller’s voice is in solid form.
Pure pop, rock-steady soul is served up here. This’ll get some radio play. Rolling pianos, tight verses and a catchy chorus make this a first-listen favorite. Look for the remix and radio cut in a few months for sure. This one is on repeat here at Made Man HQ.
“In the Car”
If you heard this song without knowing its title, you’d think, “This would be a great track to listen to while in the car.” And so you have it – a road trip song if ever there was one: a bit country, a bit roaming, some head wagging and plenty of “just drive.” Oh and before the last exit there’s what has to be one of the better guitar riffs of the past few years – or centuries.
“These City Streets”
Paul Weller is no stranger to sampling city sounds in songs that romanticize our urban environs. “These City Streets” is a lazy ode that reminds us of warm nights, make-out sessions in alleyways and furtive city romance. If this doesn’t make you want to get it on, you’re hopeless. This track hangs out for a rather lengthy 8:26, devolving into an airy series of bridges, but we’re cool with that just as we are a long summer night.
Without a doubt, this is one of the best records of the summer, and we’ll be reaching for it as the nights get longer. Thanks, Paul!