835 785-1 Confessions of a Pop Group
Produced by Paul Weller & Michael Talbot
Released on June 1988
UK CHART POSITION #15
Find it at GEMM
835 785-1 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

T he Style Council is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in expensive paper. It’s a complete reinvention of Paul Weller, as if the former Jam leader couldn’t run far enough from his own image. When he finally stopped running, he found himself surrounded by smooth soul arrangements, synthesizers, strings and simply decided to make a home of it. Actually, “simply” is the wrong word, since nothing about Confessions is simple. This record is split into two sides: Confessions of a Pop Group and The Piano Paintings. They’re equally literate, though the latter is more languid. Regarded by many as one the Council’s least interesting records, I’m not sure at all myself. Having heard the live Home & Abroad, I’m familiar with their “hits” and they’re just as perplexing. Paul Weller has a good voice, perhaps not up to the task of troubadour on ballads like “It’s A Very Deep Sea” but good enough to justify the conceit. He is a wordy feller, though, and without a lyric sheet you know you’re missing some clever lines on “Life At A Top Peoples Health Farm” and “Iwasadoledadstoyboy.” The second side favors sophisticated ballads, well executed but a little dull (think of how you felt when “Rook” or “Chalkhills And Children” rolled around on an XTC album). The trouble with dismissing Confessions as a limp and literate indulgence is that its instincts are right on, only it’s all coming from the wrong person. Paul Weller’s peculiar talents are obscured by the standoffish setting, Talbot’s arranging skills peddled to the wrong audience (were the same people going to listen to “Life At A Top Peoples Health Farm” and “The Gardener of Eden?”). The infectious “How She Threw It All Away,” handily the best thing about this record, reveals just how much is lost when The Style Council strays from their strengths. Perhaps it’s best to say that Confessions of a Pop Group is a near-perfect album with one major flaw: it presumes we care about The Style Council’s ever-changing moods.

835 785-1 back cover 835 785-1 picture sleeve
835 785-1 back cover 835 785-1 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. LIFE AT A TOP PEOPLES HEALTH FARM    4:18
  2. WHY I WENT MISSING    4:43
  3. HOW SHE THREW IT ALL AWAY    4:17
  4. I WAS A DOLEDADS TOYBOY    4:27
  5. CONFESSIONS 1, 2 & 3    4:43
  6. CONFESSIONS OF A POP GROUP    9:26
  7. IT'S A VERY DEEP SEA    5:32
  8. THE STORY OF SOMEONES SHOE    3:40
  9. CHANGING OF THE GUARD    2:49
  10. (i) THE LITTLE BOY IN A CASTLE / (ii) A DOVE FLEW DOWN FROM THE ELEPHANT    (Michael Talbot)    3:01
  11. THE GARDENER OF EDEN (A THREE PIECE SUITE)    10:29
    (i) In The Beginning
    (ii) The Gardener of Eden
    (iii) Mourning The Passing Time

    All songs written by Paul Weller unless noted

CREDITS

MICHAEL TALBOT --
PAUL WELLER --
Jezar -- engineer, mixing
Lawrence Watson -- photography
SJH/TSC -- sleeve design

return to THE STYLE COUNCIL discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK June 1988 Polydor LP/CS TSCLP/TSCMC5  
US June 1988 Polydor LP/CD/CS 835 785 picture sleeve
JPN 1988 Polydor CD P28P-20155  
JPN 2000 Polydor CD POCY-3004  
  August 14, 2000 Universal CD 557916 digital remaster
JPN 2001 Polydor CD UICY-9098  

 

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