I’ve never liked Paul Weller, I love his music, his influences and those he influenced, but I just can’t stand him, so understand my reticence and trepidation when listening to an album of solo acoustic greatest hits by the modfather himself. Sadly, despite my eagerness to dislike this album and not least to add it my shiny coaster collection, I couldn’t help but like it.
The angst and anger of Jam tracks like ‘English Rose’ and ‘That’s Entertainment’ is more pronounced and more heartfelt while the two stabs of Style Council, ‘Headstart for Happiness’ from Café Bleu and ‘Down in the Seine’ from 1985’s My Favourite Shop have had their jazz and r’n’b smoothness roughened up. 1993’s ‘Wild Wood’ is excellent as always. The material is evenly paced throughout its 60-odd minutes of acoustic worthiness, and perhaps that is its failing, that the material is just too earnest, though I doubt that will affect any of his fans who like the gadarene swine are quite literally legion. On balance ‘Days of Speed’ will be greatly appreciated by those who already own Heliocentric and Heavy Soul, and a single might well survive a week or two in the charts. But this was never going to be a ‘landmark’ unplugged session in the vein of Nirvana or Pearl Jam nor, I suspect, was it meant to be – in short, a good album but with no surprises. 7.9/10