Classic Review: Stanley Road [1995]

Artist: Paul Weller
Label: Go! Discs

1. “The Changingman” – A
2. “Porcelain Gods” – A-
3. “I Walk On Gilded Splinters” – B+
4. “You Do Something To Me” – A+
5. “Woodcutter’s Son” – B+
6. “Time Passes” – B+
7. “Stanley Road” – B+
8. “Broken Stones” – B
9. “Out of the Sinking” – A-
10. “Pink on White Walls” – B+
11. “Whirlpool’s End” – A+
12. “Wings of Speed”- A+

Comments: I consider this the Modfahjah’s serious, yet bittersweet phase. I’ve been listening to these songs on a fairly irregular basis since about the year 2000. Collectively, they’ve never struck me as worthwhile listens… up until very recently. After seeing Weller in a live setting, I realized that the guy isn’t that bad! No, no, even more shockingly…he’s good! Of course, the sound he’s maintained over his solo career is in a faraway land from punk rock or “mod” rock…whatever that was. On this release in particular, Weller is pretty much down for anything. An extended guitar solo here and there, a soft piano-rock unrequited love ballad, an inspirational oldies power-pop number, country sounding tunes, and other goodies. Even the songs that aren’t “great” tend to flow real well with this album as a whole. The core of this album is in “You Do Something to Me,” Weller’s solo magnum opus “Whirlpool’s End,” and, of course, the gospel piano track “Wings of Speed.” I remember listening to “Wings” when I was a wee lad. I hadn’t heard anything like it. Its gospel swagger (which was something I never would have termed it years ago) was captivating. I think I downloaded it on Napster or Kazaa. That’s how much impact it had on me. It’s still such a touching ditty.

Grade: A- (90)

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