Friday, 26 July 2013

End of the Road

In 1988 the Style Council released their cover of Joe Smooth's 'Promised Land'. It was the last roll dice for Weller's modernism really. Depending on your view either a homage to or bandwagon jumping on the latest black American sound being championed by hip British kids. The links to Philly soul and the lyrics calling the listener to emancipation [and nod to Martin Luther King's last speech] obviously appeal to the 'Council's soul ' n'  socialism program. 

There's no hiding it, it's a very weak version, include the noticeably flat vocals. Weller needs some grist-in-the-mill to perform, and I suspect he didn't really 'get' total euphoria, in idea or practice. It's also not as good as the neo-disco of 'Shout to the Top'. 

Worse, it actually earned Weller plenty of opprobrium from house fans. The Style Council released their version around at the same time as Joe Smooth pushed a proper single version of his track. The Council charted higher (no.27 to no.56). This seems to have created a legend that Weller denied Smooth a hit single. Sample Youtube comment: "blatent rip off of joe smooth, totaly ruined his chances of gettin to number one buy shitly covering it".


Paul Hebron said...

I wouldn't say quite the last gasp of modernism - they put together a deep house/garage album in 1989 that was canned by the record company. It had the very telling title Modernism: A New Decade.

And then you get an unacceptable amount of sloppiness into the 90s.

Reckon in terms of look his 90s stuff's a bigger influence on things now than Oasis (rewatching an Oasis video and thinking "who the hell would dress like that now"), whereas here Weller looking alarmingly contemporary

William said...

Well Mod is the style that refuses to die, at least in the UK. keeps coming back as preppy,skinhead, casual. Always amuses me that Weller's son is Goth, must have been the ultimate teen rebellion!: