What? Even at 50 years old, Brit rock'n' roll icon Paul Weller hasn't missed a stride and will release his ninth solo album, 22 Dreams, next week and offer 21 tracks of throaty melodies, Kinks-inspired retro riffs, and sunny brass and keys from the album's title track to its closer, "Night Lights." And for us wee mortals, Weller's rock majesty delivers plenty of spoils: Oasis' Noel Gallagher nabs co-writing credits on first single "Echoes Round the Sun," while Blur's Graham Coxon joins on "Black River." However, Weller's sophisticated retro-Motown edge arrives complete in the ringing riffs, gospel-like chorus, and dark-yet-upbeat keys of "Have You Made Up Your Mind."
Who? Often dubbed "the Modfather," Paul Weller formed and fronted now legendary outfit the Jam in 1970s England. Channeling the band's soulfully punkish vibe, Weller formed a second band, Style Council, in 1983 before striking out on his own. And ever since, he has maintained his influence with a highly regarded solo career. From 1993's introspective Wild Wood -- recorded entirely in an English countryside studio -- to the rawer Stanley Road, up through his chart-topping Heavy Soul, Weller has given the Britpop movement a charming, mature edge.
Fun Fact: Weller is no stranger to collaborating with other musicians, and 22 Dreams delivers his most daring partnerships yet: "God," a tune featuring only spoken word, is voiced by Aziz Ibrahim, former guitarist for Britpop icons the Stone Roses.
Now Watch This: Paul Weller's music video for"Echoes Round the Sun"