PAUL WELLER Wild Wood
1 Sunflower 4:06 (UK single, #16)
2 Can You Heal Us (Holy Man) 3:41
3 Wild Wood 3:22 (UK single, #14)
4 Instrumental (Pt 1) 1:37
5 All The Pictures On The Wall 3:56
6 Has My Fire Really Gone Out? 3:51
7 Country 3:38
8 Instrumental Two 0:49
9 5th Season 4:54
10 The Weaver 3:43 (UK single, #18)
11 Instrumental (Pt 2) 0:33
12 Foot Of The Mountain 3:37
13 Shadow Of The Sun 7:36
14 Holy Man (Reprise) 1:50
15 Moon On Your Pyjamas 4:00
I’ve got pretty much every album Paul Weller has released, from The Jam’s short-but-vivid burst between 1977 and 1982, through the Cappuccino Kid years of The Style Council, to his rebirth as a solo artist in the ’90s. Studio albums, B-side & Rarities collections, box sets. God knows how much time and money has gone on the lot of them.
So, when the time came to draw up a list of my 100 favourite albums, where and when was Weller going to feature? Already we’ve had The Style Council’s long-playing highpoint at #97, and now it is the turn of arguably the record which put his career back on track after a distinct wobble at the end of the 1980s.
Following the demise of TSC amid fan revolt, rejected House albums and commercial decline, Weller was left without a record deal and in need of a rethink. At first, the road back was tentative; a back-to-basics, ’60s-tinged single Into Tomorrow crept into the lower reaches of the Top 40, followed a year later by one of his best singles in years, Uh Huh Oh Yeah, and a debut solo set on Go! Discs that sold modestly but was warmly greeted.
Wild Wood was further proof that he’d got his mojo back, debuting at #2 and – thanks to repackaging over the ensuing 12 months – amassed sales of the kind he hadn’t enjoyed since The Jam’s heyday.
It was, in fact, a close-call between picking this or the 1992 self-titled album. Into Tomorrow, Uh Huh Oh Yeah and Above The Clouds were better than almost everything on Wild Wood, bar the majestic Sunflower, but this is the more consistent record as a whole. More intense, more focused. As often happens after a career highlight, Weller went off the boil for a few albums (Stanley Road sold by the bucketload but isn’t a great LP) until his ’00s run of As Is Now, Wake Up The Nation and 22 Dreams.
[…] Wood is a fantastic album from start to finish, a definite upgrade on the previous year’s self-titled comeback and […]