Paul Weller

Modern Classics: The Greatest Hits

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Wrapping up his contractual commitment to Go! Records, Paul Weller delivered Modern Classics: Greatest Hits, his first compilation of solo material, late in 1998. Modern Classics plays it safe, collecting all of his singles and adding a fine new song, "Brand New Start," which may not at first seem live up to its title, but eventually reveals itself to be a weightier ballad variation of the trad rock of Heavy Soul. Regrettably, the album is not sequenced in chronological order, but there was a consistency to Weller's solo work that makes the compilation hold together well. And while it certainly confirms that his solo work is easily his most conservative music to date, it also proves that it wasn't slight -- these singles are uniformly solid, whether it's the driving "Into Tomorrow," the rugged soul-pop of "Uh-Huh Oh-Yeh," the passionate "Sunflower," the ersatz ELO tribute "The Changingman," or ballads like "Broken Stones" and "Mermaids." Like Snap! and The Singular Adventures of the Style Council, Modern Classics is a testament to Weller's strength as a singles artist and a terrifically enjoyable listen in its own right. [The U.K. edition of Modern Classics included a bonus live disc, culled from various shows, which was every bit as good as Live Wood.]

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