Paul Weller’s ’22 Dreams’ Gets the Vinyl Treatment (ALBUM REVIEW)

Almost 15 years after its initial release, 22 Dreams, Paul Weller’s ninth solo album, is finally getting the vinyl treatment.

The record, which rightfully earned praise from critics across the globe, ending up on quite a few end of the year best of lists in 2008, is one of his strongest efforts since 1993’s Wild Wood. The double album is admittedly intimidating at first, but it’s clear after even the first listen that almost every song here deserves to have made the cut. The record begins on “Light Nights,” a powerful jangly acoustic track that serves as the loadstar for what follows: an electrically beautiful mix of sophisticated Brit Pop, jazz, dreamy pop music and at times, solid rock. 

The record also includes plenty of guests, most notably Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer on the driving, bombastic “Echoes Around the Sun,” one of the first singles off the record and a song that plays to the brilliant experimental nature of this double LP set. “Push It Along” is another standout rock track that fits nicely into the set. Steve Cradoc, from Ocean Colour Scene, plays guitar throughout, and Blur’s Graham Coxon plays guitar here as well, managing to placate both sides of the great Brit Pop war that nonsensically pitted Oasis against Blur. There are plenty of highlights weaved throughout these collections, but lyrically, the haunting “God” is one of the best moments here. On the song “One Bright Star,” Weller brings in his former bandmate from the Jam, Steve Brookes, to play Spanish guitar on the track. The record closes on the dreamy six-minute long “Night Lights,” perfectly bookending the double album.

This would not be Weller’s last great solo record as he has since proven he is far from out of ideas, turning out another great album less than a year ago. This two LP set comes in a gatefold sleeve and includes a poster with printed lyrics, and an 8-page booklet titled, “The Missing Dream AKA Dream #22” by the British poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage.

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