Paul Weller 22 Dreams

At this point in his career, Paul Weller could quite happily live off the accolades, both financial and critical, that he received from his time in the Jam and completely ignore the rest of his expansive discography. Instead, he’s chosen to revisit some of those underrated days in the Style Council and his uneven solo career with his ninth solo studio album. 22 Dreams is an ambitious record that will meet only the lofty expectations of existing fans. Most other people will find its scattershot approach, jumping from genre to genre, a little too jarring and self-indulgent. And as a concept album spread over 21 songs (with the 22nd dream of the title consisting of a short story in the CD booklet), it’s supposed to be ambitious and indulgent; it is also the most challenging record Weller has made in a long time. Naturally, some of the songs are better than others and it might have made for a much stronger album if it was cut down and dubbed 14 Dreams. However, it is a more interesting album than he has any right to be making in the year that he turned 50. (Island)