By Paul Snyder
Yep Roc Records is hailing As Is Now as a return to form from the man who brought us Wild Wood and Stanley Road a decade ago. This is a puzzling statement, considering Weller’s never taken a drastic step away from the songwriting that anchored his 1990s classics. It’s just that his albums haven’t been as popular.
Wild Wood and Stanley Road were fine albums. But so was Heavy Soul. And Heliocentric. And Illumination. And As Is Now is a great record, too. It follows Weller’s “it is what it is, take it or leave it” songwriting formula to a T, but it also shows the old man still has a lot of spunk.
“From the Floorboards Up” recalls his aggressive Jam days, “Here’s the Good News” is a piano pounding foot-tapper and “Come On/Let’s Go” could be viewed as a three-minute distillation of Weller’s entire philosophy on life: “Come on, baby let’s go / And you say ‘Where to?’ / I say, ‘I don’t know – I just need to run / And you need it too.’”
It has its rockers, its lullabies, and its mid-tempo meditations. It makes a defiant statement and then sighs a thought from the back recesses of the mind. It’s really not that far detached from the 24-year-old who wrote “Town Called Malice.” VS