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Album Review

Paul Weller, 'Wake Up the Nation'

May 10, 2010

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Paul Weller sounds fired up all over “Wake Up the Nation,’’ his upcoming album that’s already available as an import. Apparently years away from exhaustion, the former Jam/Style Council kingpin proves himself energetic and vital well into his fourth decade of making music. If only he wasn’t doing his best impression of an overstimulated rookie scrambling to get as many ideas down as urgently as possible because he might never get another chance. His voice crosses David Bowie and John Lydon on the title track (which fits a song pitched halfway between “Suffragette City’’ and “Holidays in the Sun’’), while “Trees’’ is a rollicking New Orleans-style piano romp. Weller’s so all over the map that even the best tracks — like “7&3 Is the Strikers Name,’’ whose drum part is a lone snare placed right up front where a lead guitar would normally be — sound like ideas instead of songs. The closing “Two Fat Ladies’’ is a swinging blast, but it doesn’t build to anything and slams the album shut instead of ending it. “Wake Up the Nation’’ rocks with abandon, to be sure. What it needs is cohesion. (Out June 1) MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “7&3 Is the Strikers Name’’