Paul Weller – Wild Wood Deluxe Edition [reissue]

January 01, 1970

(Yep Roc)

 

www.yeproc.com

 

 

 

Sometimes Deluxe/Legacy/Bad Muthahumpa editions don’t the original
work a favor; there’s a reason for its original incarnation, which is largely
responsible for its impact. Paul Weller’s second solo album is a start-to-finish
listening experience where each song builds on, or plays off, its antecedents.
The driving miss-you soul of “Sunflower” leads off, giving way to the sonically
similar, and bitingly relevant, “Can You Heal Us (Holy Man).” Then, Weller’s
spare empowerment anthem (title cut), before “Instrumental One (Pt. 1)” is
poised to, at least ostensibly, interrupt the roiling verve—but doesn’t.
Instead, the dreamy wah guitar, sleepy keys and Stax horns are a fitting
prelude to the wistful release “All the Pictures on the Wall.” And henceforth,
the humdingers—“Has My Fire Really Gone Out?,” “The Weaver,” “Moon On Your
Pyjamas”—keep coming, always spot-on and bolstered by whatever preceded it, even
instrumentals or a slight return (“Holy Man” is reprised as the penultimate
track).

 

Wild Wood just
works—probably because Weller walked into the studio possessed, with fully
formed songs in hand and head. Ironically, that’s where this fattened platter fails:
in illuminating Weller’s potency, they dilute it. Copious album track demos are
rough, dull diamonds compared to the brilliant final versions. The live stuff
(“Magic Bus” and “This Is No Time”) is just okay, and Portishead’s abysmal remix
of “Wild Wood” is an insult to a powerful song whose weight comes from its simplicity
and organicity—it didn’t need a fucking dance beat. Thankfully, some bonus
tracks are very good. The demos of “Changes” (blink and you’ll miss what it
became) and B-sides “Price to Pay,” “Love to the Loved,” and both the single
version and acoustic BBC exclusive of UK album track “Hung Up” are nicely
rendered.

 

Standout Tracks: “Wild
Wood,” “Sunflower” RANDY HARWARD

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