Music

Paul Weller Dials Things Back As He Hits the Stage

British rock icon Paul Weller lets his latest solo album dictate how the music flows on this laid-back live double album.

Other Aspects: Live at the Royal Festival Hall
Paul Weller

Warner Bros./Parlophone

8 March 2019

Paul Weller has produced live albums and compilations galore. Even if you completely ignore the work of his two seminal bands the Jam and the Style Council, you can still overwhelm yourself with hit singles, rarities, and deep cuts from a solo career that has spanned 27 years and counting. Stepping back and taking stock, it's easy to think that Weller has gone and done it all. Keep in mind, the Britpop legend once wrote a song giving voice to his concerns that he was running out of ideas -- back in 1993. Since then, Weller has been just as prodigious as prolific, and each new solo offering bears a mark of freshness that we have all come to take for granted from him. Does this mean that the live album Other Aspects: Live at the Royal Festival Hall is worth your time and devotion? To answer that, we need to backtrack to the previous calendar year, when Paul Weller released the rather subdued True Meanings.

True Meanings was a very subtle album. PopMatters' own Chris Ingalls proclaimed it an "instantly satisfying work". Familiarizing yourself with Weller's relaxed approach to his latest batch of songs will help orient you for Other Aspects, seeing as how a whopping 11 of True Meanings' 14 songs made their way into the evening's program. In combination with the London Metropolitan Orchestra, Weller and his touring band bring the lounge vibes to the stage with great ease and professionalism. The remaining 14 songs on the double live album feel less like a stroll through memory lane than just ways to complement these new songs. For some context, only three songs represent the Jam (12%), two for the Style Council (8%), and nine for the remainder of Paul Weller's long solo career (36%). If you think that seems a little lopsided, you can bet your peacock suit that the modfather doesn't care.

Including "Private Hell" or "Tales from the Riverbank" may sound kitschy or odd, but they serve a greater purpose in the hands of Weller and the orchestra. You could probably convince a newcomer that "Boy About Town" was meant to sound this way, with its leisurely mid-tempo strings and effortless vocals. It's less of a stretch to imagine the Latin-peppered "Have You Ever Had It Blue" in this environment. Deep cuts from Weller's back catalog like "Where'er Ye Go", "One Bright Star", "Strange Museum", "Country", "Hopper", and "You Do Something to Me" have been patiently waiting for their moment in the spotlight, and on Other Aspects, they shine just as brightly in orchestral splendor as their newly minted brethren.

It would probably be easier to mention which songs from True Meanings that were not performed that evening. They are "Bowie", "Wishing Well", and "Come Along". As you might expect, the remaining 11 songs haven't gone through any radical rearrangements. If one were to look at Other Aspects in a practical light, the case could be made that the double live album shifts focus to great acoustically-minded numbers like "Books" and "Gravity". If you're one of those "Boo!-Just-play-the-hits" fans (and face it, would you be one if you were interested in this recording?), then you're out of luck with Other Aspects, Live at the Royal Festival Hall. This is a double album for the curious Weller fan, the one who outgrew punk alongside their idol and can appreciate the hush of maturity.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".

Music

The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Music

Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.

Music

Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.

Music

Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.

Music

Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.

Film

Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.

Books

Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.

Music

Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.

Film

Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.