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The Style Council
Today’s post is being done in conjunction with Armando Bellmas and his Eclectico newsletter. Like most of us, Armando is always on the hunt for new music. And like many of us, he was frustrated at what the algorithm was feeding him. From that, the concept of Eclectico was born- to bring you new worlds of music, one song at a time.
And that’s exactly what he delivers. It’s a consistent goldmine of music I might never hear otherwise, and genres I might not otherwise explore.
He and I share a love for new wave deep cuts. Check out his take on today’s track here. We’re collabortating again next week, so stay tuned.
When you’re done, take a deep dive into the other music he’s featured recently. It’s our kind of rabbit hole!
Paul Weller had had enough.
The so-called “Modfather” and founder of seminal band The Jam was feeling increasingly constrained both by his bandmate’s skillset and the expectations the music world had placed on them. So he did the only thing he could.
He threw it all away and started over.
Joining forces with Mike Talbot (late of Dexy’s Midnight runners), the Style Council was born. Free of any preconceived notions, Weller & co. were free to explore his increasing passion for jazz, and R & B. Those soulful stylings came to fruition on The Internationalists.1
We recently covered some of this when we spun the band’s “Shout to the Top” from the same album.
The record itself has a smooth sound that is easy to listen to. It’s all catchy melodies and smooth pop. Just below that sheen are simmering lyrics, a searing indictment of Thatcher-era England, with Weller railing against the shredding of his country’s social fabric.
Writing as “The Cappuccino Kid” on the now infamous liner notes, Weller stated:
The lyrics? Songs of the Devil’s misery caused through smack, other miseries caused by authority. The breaking up of families to find work elsewhere, the breaking up of communities because there is no work! The government tokenism of “new towns,” the facade of prosperity, the political lipservice of those in charge.
Musically, The Internationalists and tracks like “The Lodgers” hold up well; it sounds as good today as ever. As for Weller’s angry words? I wish they’d sound like something from a bygone era by now. Unfortunately, they’re as prescient as ever- only the names have changed.
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Our Favourite Shop was an overtly political album driven by the age of Thatcher. The lyrics attacked racism, excessive commercialism, self serving governments, and a disappointment at the exasperating lack opposition to the status quo. The album was a fine balancing act between pessimistic insights and an overarching sense of hope, delight and the idea that alternatives existed.
Read more about the record here.
“The Lodgers” by The Style Council | The Internationalists, 1985
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Readers outside America will know this record as Our Favorite Shop. For its US release, it was repackaged and retitled The Internationalists. The tracks are the same except for "Our Favourite Shop" being replaced with "Shout To The Top" This is the record I own, so I went with this version.