"Kind" is a bland word. It's polite and complimentary, but ultimately meaningless. As such, it fits perfectly into Paul Weller's newest album title A Kind Revolution, an album so seemingly pleasant, but so bland and uninspiring that the only revolution it might inspire is the rebellious idea to go to bed at 9:30.
It's a bit akin to a dinner party with friends you haven't seen in awhile. Wine is poured, you catch up, play with the kids a little before they're sent to bed. You ask yourself why you don't see these friends more often. You create scenarios in which you go bowling every weekend or hit the bar for a Thursday night Happy Hour. This is "Woo Se Mama," the opening track, a funk-inflected kick that reminds you that Weller is an ever-shifting landscape of musical talent. The wine has worked its magic and you are cheery and full of love for all things, dreamy and drifting ("Nova").
If the night went downhill from there―say, a fistfight broke out or you were taken hostage or your hosts drunkenly invited you to wife-swap―that would at least make for a good story. Unfortunately, A Kind Revolution almost immediately turns into forgettable folk-rock that might be acceptable from the guitar of the girl with the half-finished tattoos who plays at the Farmers' Market, but not from The Modfather.
Dinner is served, a casserole in an ugly dish they got for a wedding present. They don't know that it's ugly, and you were hoping for something a little...fancier ("She Moves With Fayre")? You hate to be rude, so you eat it anyways, but it doesn't taste like much ("Long Long Road"). By the time you've finished the last bite, you've already forgotten what it tastes like, similar to how after several listens of A Kind Revolution, I cannot, for the life of me, recall a single tune. This is not an album that sticks with you.
By the time folksy, working-class anthem "The Cranes Are Back" has hit, the conversation has turned dull. "Hopper" might as well be a Tom Petty song, and you find yourself wondering what other friends are doing. Local politics are discussed, but nothing is solved, just reiterated ("One Tear"). You ask your friend if she still paints. She does not. You remember that The Jam and Style Council founder wrote "Going Underground" and "My Ever Changing Moods," and wonder what has changed over time to make him so goddamn boring. But then, suddenly, your host cracks a joke and for a moment, you remember why you like them so much ("Satellite Kid").
The night winds down and hugs are exchanged and you say you'll get together soon, but have no real plans of following up on that offer ("The Impossible Idea"). The next morning, you have a vague recollection that you spent the night elsewhere and it wasn't terrible, but you can't hum any high points of the evening.
Notable Tracks: “Nova” | “Satellite Kid” | “Woo See Mama”