True Meanings is the fourteenth Paul Weller solo album, and the twenty-sixth studio album of his entire career.
True Meanings is an album characterised by grandiose-yet-delicate, lush orchestration: an aesthetic to which Paul’s voice, singing some of his most nakedly honest words, is perfectly suited.
As well as all the members of Weller’s band, Rod Argent of the Zombies provides Hammond organ on ‘The Soul Searchers’ and piano and Mellotron on ‘White Horses’; folk legends Martin Carthy and Danny Thompson add picked guitar and double bass respectively to ‘Come Along’; Little Barrie plays lead guitar on ‘Old Castles’; Lucy Rose sings backup on ‘Books’; and ‘Movin On’ is the result of a “scratchy demo” on Paul’s phone that was sent to Tom Doyle of the White Label project. Even Noel Gallagher makes a sneaky appearance.
Perhaps most surprisingly of all, lyrics for four of the fourteen songs here were written, to Weller’s melodies, by others. Connor O’Brien from Villagers came up with the words to opener ‘The Soul Searchers’, while ‘Bowie’, ‘Wishing Well’ and the closing ‘White Horses’ are all the work, lyrically, of Erland Cooper from Erland & The Carnival.
The album was recorded in just over three weeks at Paul’s own Black Barn Studio. It is always a good sign when the recording of an album is swift, and here you can just hear that the man at the centre of these songs is as focused and inspired than he has ever been.