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Hit Parade 

Paul Weller

Paul Weller reminds me of Van Morrison. Not for his music, of course, which is radically different from Morrison's blues, but for his voice. It is resolutely bittersweet and soulful, even when he belted out mod anthems with pivotal late-'70s punk band the Jam. That scruffily emotional tone is a pivot for a stylistically varied career: Hit Parade, which charts Weller's four-decade development, encompasses the Jam's raging mod anthems; the blue-eyed soul and jazz pop of his second group, the very-'80s Style Council; and the muscular, mature Brit rock of his '90s solo albums. While a rock icon in Britain, Weller only has one legitimate hit (Style Council's "My Ever Changing Moods") and underground cred (for the Jam classics like "That's Entertainment") over here. For those unfamiliar with his work, this disc is a necessary primer to an idiosyncratic rock 'n' roll talent.

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