22 Dreams (Yep Roc)
ESSENTIAL "22 Dreams"
By his own admission, Paul Weller is a geezer these days. But unlike so many of his punk-rock contemporaries, he's managed to age righteously, putting out very few rubbish records since his heyday nearly three decades ago. To the dismay of everyone who loved his former bands, the Jam and the Style Council, Weller, who turned 50 this year, will never make another album the equal of, say, "All Mod Cons" or "Sound Affects," but then, no one else will, either. For his ninth solo album, "22 Dreams," Weller holed up in a studio not far from his boyhood home. Despite the title, there are actually 21 songs on the CD, and they range from straight-forward, blue-eyed soul ("Empty Ring") to psychedelia ("Echoes Round the Sun") to a few tracks that Wilson Pickett might have recommended if he'd created a celebrity playlist on iTunes. One of these is the title track, which features a blazing guitar solo by Little Barrie. The album is hardly perfect. By dabbling in disparate genres, Weller can seem like a dilettante, selling himself as Roy Harper one minute and Marvin Gaye the next. But that's easily forgiven. At least the Mod-father isn't resting on his laurels. [Mark Shanahan]
Paul Weller is at the Berklee Performance Center Sept. 9.