The Style Council–Come to Milton Keynes

Paul Weller had already left a mark on British culture forever with brilliant mod-revivalists The Jam.  While in recent years he’s forged a respectable solo career that often hearkens back to that band, the intervening time saw him switch modes completely for the blue-eyed soul groove of The Style Council.  Impressively, the band scored several hits that are firmly embedded into the British psyche.  But a kinder, gentler sound didn’t necessarily give way to more pop friendly subject matter.  Come To Milton Keynes is every bit as embittered as Jam tracks like Eton Rifles and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight.  Dialing back his vocal aggression, Weller sounds more like Elvis Costello when he’s playing nice.  If you weren’t listening closely, you could be forgiven for the thinking the song was about sauntering down the boardwalk, with its gentle swing interlude and uptempo prance.  Of course, catch even a line of the lyrics and it becomes clear that Weller is taking a vitriolic piss at Tatcher’s England.  Instead, he’s wrapped the message in a package that those he’s firing at might accidentally stumble across, tapping their toes at a vicious takedown at their expense.  For Weller, a step further into the mainstream was also an opportunity at absolute subversion, upon which he capitalized fully.

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