Paul Weller – Fat Pop (Volume 1)

You don’t get many opportunities to get a review copy of such a prestigious artist and get to have your say on the record. So being able to listen to Paul Weller’s new record Fat Pop is going to be something really interesting. Weller has always been known as one of the home grown greats from the UK. His illustrious career speaks for itself to a certain degree. This new album is his sixteenth studio record as a solo artist. This album is more from the all-time-great and I think it’s worth the listen. Weller’s years of experience and ooze from the pen to the recording. Everything has that professional sheen to it. The polish this record has only come with years of experience, knowing what works and what doesn’t. I think that the process of making albums is so second nature to Weller at this point, it allows him to experiment and play around with ideas. Fat Pop has a very playful quality as it flows in and out of genre, musical style and tone. 

The music is enjoyable for the most part however, I found the album to be a bit of a slog to get through. Whilst I appreciate the artistry on display, that doesn’t mean it necessarily translates to an amazing listening experience.I had to give it a few listens before the album really ‘clicked’ for me. I think from a production standpoint, this album is near flawless. However, as an overall package it didn’t quite hit the nail on the head for me. It’s a fine listen if you’re looking for something a little more down tempo and soulful. However, the album never really feels like it gets going. It coasts along in a low gear and never really comes to a big enough crescendo. Even the lead single “Shades of Blue” kinda comes and goes without leaving enough of an impact. 

This one is a mixed bag for me. Whilst I like how the album is put together and the core writing. I like the mixes of style and genre. Nothing on the album quite packs that punch for me personally. It’s quite hard for me to measure this one up. It’s fine for what it is but I wouldn’t count it as one of my favourite releases this year. If you wanted more Paul Weller, well you got more. But whether he’s bringing something new or exciting to the table I still have my questions about that. 

Mick Birchall