True Meanings

True Meanings

Decades after being touted as one of punk’s original angry young men, Paul Weller is more like a distinguished elder spokesman today. The Modfather turned 60 this year, so it’s appropriate True Meanings reflects the passing of time with introspection and themes of letting go. Those themes are set against some of his most spare, breathtaking arrangements to date—just piano, hollow-body guitars, and a touch of brass and strings. The album marks Weller’s 14th post-Jam and Style Council release in 26 years, and as much as fans clamor for a return to the past (he has repeatedly and forcefully turned down reunions), he seems to address revisiting glory days on “Movin On”: “I’ve got love all around/I don’t need nothing else.” His voice is in excellent form, aged like fine scotch with just a pinch of pepper. “Bowie,” “Wishing Well,” and “Gravity” are up there with “Brand New Start” and “English Rose” as his most personal, revealing work.

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