Sunday, 3 May 2009

Paul Weller 'Peacock Suit'

Chart Peak: 5


Another case where I can remember the first time I heard the song: this time in an unusual live performance on Top Of The Pops. Either then or when they re-ran the performance during the chart run of the single, I was watching it with subtitles which claimed that the first line was "I've got a breakthrough matter", but according to the official lyric sheet it's actually a "grapefruit matter", which is "as sour as shit". Thanks Paul. At first glance the lyric seems like an expression of the rather grumpy phase Weller seemed to be going through at the time, although on closer inspection it's more likely intended as a mocking sketch of a self-regarding dandy, a dedicated follower of fashion if you will. If so, it doesn't entirely convince, possibly because it seems to betray a conflicting back-to-basics urge and the whole thing sounds less considered than a lot of his work - that slightly off-mic "I look real cute!" after the chorus sounds spontaneous, and you rather have to hope that it is.

The performance as a whole is obviously aiming at a certain rough-and-ready charm: it's presumably for this reason that he called in Steve Cradock on second guitar rather than overdubbing the part himself. And on that basis at least, it's a success, an intense run at a rather simple song that belies the underwhelming material. In fact, I've enjoyed listening back to this rather more than I'd expected to, but it remains far from my favourite solo Weller track; I can well imagine that people who didn't like him anyway would rate this among his worst. So it's probably just an accident of timing that this proved to be his biggest chart hit as a solo artist.

Also appearing on: Now 25, 32, 33, 70
Available on:Hit Parade

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