Of all the many things Paul Weller has done in his career, he has somehow managed to survive three decades without a double album to his credit. 22 Dreams rectifies that wrong, offering a luxurious sprawl that's proudly, staunchly classicist, just like Weller's solo career itself. Weller's embrace of rock & roll tradition might suggest that he has taken his double album as an opportunity to offer a summation of his career, to summarize where he's been and perhaps where he's going.
Releasing a recording like 22 Dreams, which doesn’t sound remotely like what he’s done previously, is nothing new for Paul Weller, who’s spent his career dodging pigeonholes and shrugging off tags and mantles thrust upon him. He’s a survivor. Weller’s fan-baffling ability to apply his considerable songwriting skill to different musical forms and contexts has allowed him to thrive over the course of nine albums while most of his punk-era contemporaries plan reunion tours to play the oldies.
Be glad he didn’t die before he got oldFrom his early days as a Mod revivalist swimming against the ’70s punk tide as the leader of The Jam, to his ’80s tenure as a neo-R&B stalwart in The Style Council, and beyond, Paul Weller has often come across as a self-righteous old soul in a younger man’s body. So while it comes as a mild shock to realize he really is old, happily, middle-age becomes him. Having hit the half-century mark, Weller seems surprisingly comfortable in his skin today, especially at the mic.