True Meanings is the 14th solo single album by Paul Weller and his 26th overall in a career spanning 4 decades. A new direction for Weller on this outing, extra bodies on board to help not only with musicianship this time, but 4 of the tracks written for him by other artists.
There’s a distinct feel of folk music on this record, some tracks stripped back and tackled acoustically, and a very laid back approach to the album as a whole. Opening with The Soul Searchers, which includes organ played by Rod Argent from The Zombies, Glide is acoustic with strings, Mayfly a more typical Weller number though not quite in the mould of The Changingman or Peacock Suit. Gravity is a track that Weller showcased a number of years ago, around the 22 Dreams period, and its nice to finally see it confined to record. Aspects is another acoustic guitar offering with a string accompaniment, a reflective track in that the things you a searching for can be found within. Bowie is a tribute to the man himself with lyrics written by Erland Cooper. Books uses a sitar alongside his acoustic guitar. Moving On is the star track for me ‘Im moving on, the moment finally has come’, reflective of his past and looking to the future.
Paul Weller has never been one to sit still in his music career. Each album, from the days in The Jam, the Style Council and his solo work, evolves, has a different approach, a different feel. He uses different instruments, different styles, never one to rest on his laurels. The addition of strings on this album has been used before, on 22 Dreams, and many tracks here could have been written around that period. The use of a sitar and an Indian vibe was tried on Illumination. The largely acoustic feel overall again harks back to the Wild Wood album, his second solo release. So while we may seem to feel as if we’ve heard it all before, the tracks sound new, fresh, inspiring and uplifting. That’s the magic of Weller. Some tracks may fall by the wayside, others may be on his live setlist for the next few years. But as long as he keeps making music, he’ll continue to evolve and strive to make the best album he can. And while this may not be it, its still a more than decent record.
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