Monday, June 18, 2012

Single Review: Paul Weller - “Birthday”


Photo from Paul Weller’s Facebook page.

Before moving on the “Birthday,” just a quick suggestion to fans of Shoes to check out the power pop band’s website. Starting today, there will be a countdown for the forthcoming CD, Ignition, featuring a preview of a different track each day. Today’s selection, “Only We Remain,” certainly bodes well for this long-anticipated release. It’s a catchy, guitar-driven gem that recalls the early days of Present Tense and Tongue Twister.

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for rarities when it comes to rock music. On Record Store Day, I was standing in line outside Reckless Records in downtown Chicago before the store even opened, with my wish list on hand. So when I heard singer-guitarist Paul Weller planned to have a one-day only release of “Birthday,” his tribute to Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday, I made sure to mark my calendar.

Fans in the U.S. can download “Birthday” from Amazon, although I couldn’t find it on iTunes. The links on Weller’s official Facebook page are for the UK versions of Amazon and iTunes. All proceeds from the song will go to War Child, a UK charitable organization that helps kids in war-torn countries.

It seems likely Sir Paul would approve of this high energy homage from Weller, a musician with a solid reputation as a solo artist, as well as with The Jam and The Style Council. “Birthday” strikes a perfect balance by being inventive enough to stand on its own without losing the feel of the original. It sounds like a live performance, as Weller adeptly blends guitar, keyboards, horns, and female backup vocalists. A smattering of applause can be heard at the end. There’s a hint of that old time music hall entertainment McCartney often taps into, and like The Beatles version, it’s perfect for a celebration.

Congratulations to Weller on his well-executed tribute, and of course to McCartney on this joyous occasion. And remember, you’ve only got a few hours left to download it.

Also, here's a tip of my hat to my father, who would have turned 90 today.

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