Today is February 25th and I had resigned myself to just another day at the office, sorting out this afternoon’s radio show, finding out what’s going on around the north east and making witty comments about the songs I played. The usual.
And then Nick Cave and Paul Weller both dropped new music within an hour of each other.
I’ve been aware that Nick had teamed up with longtime Bad Seed Warren Ellis for an album named Carnage and once I’ve done this I’ll be looking into and reviewing that. For now though we’re going to concentrate on the brand new lead single from Paul’s new album Fat Pop. An album which for the record Noel Gallagher had revealed about a week or so ago but Paul dismissed his words as a load of bollocks. Cheers, Paul.
So yeah, Fat Pop (With a Volume 1 on the side so there might be more to come as soon as 2022). As it suggests this album seems to be heading in a more modern 2020s-style pop direction and the lead single Cosmic Fringes definitely indicates that shift in tone from the relaxed hippy vibe of On Sunset. The first thing you notice about this song is how similar it sounds to a lot of the songs you hear on mainstream radio these days. That techno beat sounds just like what we’ve all been hearing in pop music for the last decade or so. Thankfully though it does have that Weller-style touch with electric guitars blending in nicely with the beat. Overall, with its faster pace than what we’ve been used to from him lately and lyrics concerning bursting out as he has ‘come undone’ and ‘it’s too late to fix it’, it reminds me of From the Floorboards Up; energetic and in your face. There’s also the repeated emphasis of ‘on my own’. You can tell this was recorded during lockdown. I think recent events have made him decide he’s done with reflecting like he did with On Sunset and now he just wants to tear down the house with his music.
So what I do think of it? Well after listening to it several times I’ve gone from going “Really? This doesn’t seem like my cup of tea” to “Ok, yeah, I like it”. Reason being Weller is one of the last people I would associate with electronic music and that beat, while catchy, does seem a little generic for a man of his calibre. Then again maybe there’s beauty in the simplicity of it that I’m failing to see.
I do appreciate that artists feel the need to experiment with their styles and seeing as this is part of an album recorded during lockdown I could fully understand Paul’s want to go beyond his usual realms. As long as he doesn’t do a collab with Stormzy or Doja Cat then we should be alright. Plus, there’s the words of the man himself:
“It’s a celebration of music and what it’s given us all. No matter what situation you are in, and we’re in one now, music doesn’t let you down, does it?” (https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/paul-weller-cosmic-fringes-single-fat-pop-album/)
So by the sounds of it, Fat Pop is going to be addressing different eras of music and giving it that Weller flourish. An intriguing concept. I guess I’m treating this song like I would anything that sounds different and not entirely how I expected; tentatively. I’m still eager to hear the full album when it comes out in May and am hoping that another single will come out between now and then to give us more of a taste of what’s to come. Time will tell.