- 01 May 01
PAUL WELLER is often accorded an elder statesman status which ill becomes him - in this listener's opinion, the Modfather never really earned his stripes.
PAUL WELLER is often accorded an elder statesman status which ill becomes him - in this listener's opinion, the Modfather never really earned his stripes. Sure, The Jam were a damn fine singles band, but the Style Council were, at best, inconsistent, and since the early '90s, he's produced much solid solo material, but scarcely an original idea.
Fact is, Weller has more in common with the retro-stylist brigade (Lenny Kravitz, The Black Crowes) than ornery old buzzards like Neil Young. He's a graftsman intent on replicating the sounds he was raised on - Steve Marriot, The (Small) Faces, Traffic - but never transmutes the base metal of those influences into hard gold. The role of curator might seem like an honourable one, but if you put rock 'n' roll in a glass case and throw peas at it, it gets old real fast.
Modern Classics is a collection of selected highlights from Weller's remarkably successful last half-decade, and one of the first things one notices about these songs is how much they owe to the aforementioned Brit rock/r...b/soul acts. Fair enough; even the most gifted artists start out copying the masters, but they must eventually paint their own masterpieces or become nostalgia-merchants. On evidence of this compilation, St. Paul's not so much a renaissance man as a monastery-bound calligrapher dedicated to reproducing ancient texts without adding anything new to them.