The wealth of influences evident on Paul Weller’s new album shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Michael Spies in The Village Voice. Over the past 30 years, the former frontman of the Jam and Style Council has experimented with nearly every kind of pop music—including punk, folk, and house. But it was complete madness for Weller to attempt on 22 Dreams to “pay homage to every sound that ever caught his ear.” This concept album is incredibly self-indulgent, said John Lewis in Uncut. But it’s also Weller’s “most adventurous” in years, intricately designed to chronicle a year in the English songwriter’s life. Weller has always flirted with arcane genres, but ventures far outside his comfort zone here. “Song for Alice,” a bluesy, free-form tribute to John Coltrane’s wife, features a harp, arpeggiated piano, and Robert Wyatt on a hushed trumpet. “Lullaby für Kinder” is a tender, melancholic instrumental. In a way, 22 Dreams is Weller’s “‘White Album,’ a sprawling, epic, and compelling song cycle that channels a century of influences.” But 22 Dreams can’t compare to that Beatles’ masterpiece, said Jason Heller in The Onion. Though Weller maintains a “sense of fun and wonder” throughout, his futile attempts at art will hardly appeal to the masses.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- Why Mindy Kaling — not Lena Dunham — is the body positive icon of the moment
- Why we need a maximum wage
Subscribe to the Week