Paul Weller: Wake Up The Nation
The title of this album should have been “Waking Up My Fan Base”, ‘cause this is by far the finest, most coherent album Weller’s released since Wild Wood. As noted by many a critic Wake Up The Nation is the polar opposite of 2008’s excellent, if meandering, 22 Dreams. WUTN is economical and, sonically speaking, very inventive. It sounds like he’s having some fun again. I haven’t been blown away by a Paul Weller release in well over a decade. All of his albums have been decent and each have contained a track or two that measured up to the best of his catalog, but Wild Wood was his last big statement. That being said, 22 Dreams was quite excellent but may have had a bigger impact on me had he edited it down a bit.
I’ve listened to the entire album 3 times so far and have found it an exciting listen each time. The sequencing is perfect, and as Weller genre hops his way through the album it still feels like part of a whole.
Hopefully this release will help him shake off the dreaded “dad-rock” tag he’s been saddled with lately. WUTN proves that Weller is still a vital presence in rock and roll. Thank God, ‘cause we really need him right now.
And a BIG shout out to Yep Roc Records, who continue to recognize talent like nobody else and treat the physical and aural product with the care and respect it deserves.
The Guardian: “The fearless try-anything spirit of Paul Welly, it seems, is still alive and well.” 10/10
Q Magazine: “With the exception of Bob Dylan, there isn’t a single artist, living or dead, who has managed a record this audacious 30-plus-years into a career. Wake Up The Nation is that good.” 10/10
PopMatters: “Wake Up the Nation, once again illustrates not only his perennial songwriting prowess, but also his incredible staying power amidst artists for whom influence is sporadic and brief at best.” 9/10
All Music Guide: “This is music of the mind that remains fiercely visceral, music that feels of a piece of Weller’s entire body of work, but is quite unique in its execution and impact.” 9/10
Dot Music: “Compact and succinctly direct, its 16 tracks rarely break the three-minute mark but are packed with a greater density of ideas than its predecessor.” 9/10
The Onion (A.V. Club): “Taken all together, Wake Up The Nation is either a standout album from a brilliant career, or utter wankery. One thing’s certain: It ain’t dull.” 8.3/10