Love him or hate him? Erm...
Am I alone in my feelings about Paul Weller, namely ambivalence? Opinion usually seems to be divided over the man and his work - is he insufferably smug and pretentious, a genuine genius? In fact Weller is picking up this year's NME Godlike Genius Award For Services To Music*...
The Jam were okay- in our school there was an unbridgeable Jam/ punk divide amongst the boys (although I'm sure that we all bought the incomparable Eton Rifles) so I didn't really appreciate the qualities of The Jam until later. That said I viewed Weller as a decent songwriter (his work was and remains highly derivative)rather than as some sort of poet of the dole age. I never really got The Style Council. And the whole 'Modfather' thing of the Britpop era wasn't really Paul's fault. He just happened to influence a generation of formulaic, soulless rock bands (Oasis spring readily to mind). On the other hand I have vague memories of hearing him play an acoustic version of Eton Rifles on some radio show in the mid nineties and it was immense, and Wildwood was , to me , one of the albums of the 1990s.
Tin Soldier-The Small Faces
September in the Rain-Dinah Washington
Better Get Hit in Yo’ Soul-Charles Mingus
Don’t Be a Drop Out -James Brown
Arabesque No 1- Branford Marsalis with the English Chamber Orchestra
Galileo (Someone Like You) -Declan O’Rourke
River Man -Nick Drake
That’s Enough -Roscoe
Tin Soldier- was Paul's overall record choice. He chose Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes as his book, and his luxury was a settee to sit on.
Here's the programme:
*Hence the timing of this post. This year's NME awards take place at the Brixton Academy on February 24th.
Take a look at this list of previous winners of the Godlike Genius and decide for yourselves how worthy it is...
1999 Massive Attack
2000 Shaun Ryder
2002 Pennie Smith
2003 The Clash
2004 Ozzy Osbourne
2005 New Order & Joy Division
2006 Ian Brown
2007 Primal Scream
2008 Manic Street Preachers
2009 The Cure
2010 Paul Weller