Newest Review: ... was written "And they say there's no provisions, there's not enough to go round, but when it comes to the gun there's a bullet for ... more
Critically acclaimed, and catchy too
Illumination - Paul Weller
Member Name: song_of_calliope
Illumination - Paul Weller
Advantages: Very romantic, includes the song "It's Written in the Stars"
Disadvantages: Not all of the songs are as good
Paul Weller was the bass guitarist for the Jam, a band that was New Wave before the genre even really existed, and which grew to be hugely popular by the early 1980s.
Despite their popularity, Weller left the Jam to form The Style Council in 1983. In 1990 he went solo.
Weller's album Illumination came out in 2002 amid great critical acclaim, and ended up going to number 1.
This album is pop music but not in the throwaway, bubble gum sense. Instead it is well thought out, mature and interesting while the songs are at the same time catchy. The lyrics on this album are really beautiful and it's a great album to put on when enjoying a quiet evening at home with a loved one.
The album starts strong with the track "Going Places." After barely a few notes of intro, Weller starts singing and his warm, slightly raspy voice draws you in immediately. This song has a slightly country and western rhythm to it. It is enjoyable but isn't my favourite track.
The next track, A Bullet for Everyone, is a fairly violent song as you might guess from the title. It is a faster song than "Going Places" and is one of my least favourites on the album personally.
The third track on this album is where this disc really starts to shine in my opinion. It's called "Leafy Mysteries" and has a bit of a Simon and Garfunkel feel in places and in others is reminiscent of Creedance Clearwater Revival or Neil Young. I love the lyrics to this song - it's all about being a part of the earth and fits beautifully with the environmentalism of our age.
Next is the absolutely gorgeous song "It's Written in the Stars." This is an incredibly romantic song and I have listened to it over and over when thinking of a certain someone! It's about the timelessness of being in love but also blends with the theme of "Leafy Mysteries" about belonging to this planet and appreciating natural phenomena. Nearly at the end of the song the rhythm changes completely in a way that is reminiscent of the Beatles - one of Weller's influences.
The fourth song is "Who Brings Joy." While this is a romantic song also, it doesn't touch me the way "Written in the Stars" does, perhaps because it's a little too sappy for me, or because the rhythm is too slow for my taste.
Next is "Now the Night is Here," a beautiful and, again, romantic song with a lovely, rolling rhythm. It's a song about reconciliation with a lot of references to the natural world as well.
"Spring at Last" is a strange, almost experimental style song with many notes and instruments deliberately played off-key. The flute is haunting and there a North African influence evident on this track. This is an instrumental apart from some subtle chanting.
We're back in pop territory with "One x One". This is a melodic and charming song about shedding your chains and being free and unafraid.
"Bag Man" is a slow, serious acoustic song about homelessness, and is followed by "All Good Books" which is catchy but repetitive. Neither of these songs makes a great impression on me.
"Call Me No 5" recalls the country and western sound that came through loud and clear on the first two tracks of the album and was then really left behind until here. This is a great, rollicking track that would come into its own belted out in a smoky bar. It makes me want to pick up my guitar and sing and play along.
"Standing Out in the Universe" is another outstanding song along the same lines as "It's Written in the Stars" but this song is more about a call to social consciousness. The lines "Now it's time to open eyes and realise we all have parts to play" could have been written by an environmental activist. This song makes you think, and is beautiful to listen to as well, although perhaps a bit repetitive.
The album ends with the title track, Illumination" which is a beautiful and soft acoustic guitar song, again reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel perhaps, or Neil Young, with a distinctly 60s or 70s feel.
In all, although I don't absolutely adore every song, I do find that this is a highly worthwhile album that creates an enjoyable and fun romantic mood when listening with someone special.
Summary: Well worth a listen