Album #540 – Cafe Bleu

Album #540

After the Jam split up in 1982, Paul Weller decided to do something different. He created The Style Council along with Mick Talbot. Both are picture on the album cover for Cafe Bleu. The title suits the album very well. The Style Council were part of a wave of pop music in the mid 80’s called sophisti-pop. It combined pop, jazz and r&b to create a new sound. It was the total opposite of what Weller had done in the Jam, but there were indications of the new direction on one of the Jam’s last singles, The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow). In fact, not only soul and jazz are present on Cafe Bleu but rap too (A Gospel). The album makes Weller sound more like a crooner than an ex-punk and mod. But, after The Style Council folded in the late 80’s, Weller would continue to incorporate some of these influences into his solo career. Cafe Bleu contains one of my favorite songs of all time, You’re The Best Thing. I first heard the tune about 10 years ago, listening to radio online from the UK. I didn’t like the song right away but, after hearing it many times over that summer, I fell in love. Everything is lush, from the strings to the guitar and sax solos but, it all works. To me, it’s the perfect mushy love song. The rest of the album has the same tone and even features fellow sophisti-pop artists Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl. If you are trying to look for Cafe Bleu in North America, it will be hard to find under that name. I have a vinyl version with the title My Ever Changing Moods and it contains a slightly different track listing. Suave, classy and chill: the three qualities that define this album. For You’re the Best Thing alone, it’s worth a spin. Other highlights include: Mick’s Blessings, The Whole Point of No Return, The Paris Match, My Ever Changing Moods, Here’s One That Got Away and Headstart for Happiness. Overall, I give Cafe Bleu, 3.5 out of 5.

Next: Private Dancer by Tina Turner

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