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Album: Wake Up The NationReleased: 2010Charted:
This is the title track of English alternative rock singer-songwriter Paul Weller's 10th studio album. Weller explained the song in publicity materials: "It's political with a small 'p'. There's a line in there about the death of the post box. It's about how technology brings advantages but it also depersonalizes things."
Weller told Spinner UK that the starting point for Wake Up The Nation came when he was sent a batch of rough ideas for songs by producer Simon Dine. "After 22 Dreams I didn't have any ideas in my head," said Weller. "All I knew was that I didn't want to do anything that could be vaguely described as pastoral or acoustic.
I loved that last record but we were conscious of making 22 Dreams Part Two, you know, 23 Dreams or whatever. We wanted to move on, man. Some of the things we arrived at toward the end of 22 Dreams, dare I say the more experimental side of things... we wanted to use that as a launch pad. Experimental, but still with the melodic sensibilities and pop songs over the top."
The song contains the exhortation: "Get your face off the Facebook and turn off your phone." The Independent April 24, 2010 asked Weller if this is his view of technology. "I can see some of the benefits of modern technology," he admitted. "I can edit my tracks at the touch of a button now, which is incredible. But there's lots of bulls--t, too. It's strange that people my age spend all evening on Facebook talking to their 'friends'. Why not go down the pub? A guy once came up to me at a gig and asked me if I had MySpace. I said, 'This is my space, and you're invading it.'"
For Wake Up The Nation, Weller for the first time went into the studio without lyrics, improvising his vocals based on the last thing he and Simon Dine had been discussing in the studio. "Simon's brief," Weller told The Independent, "was to make it really tough and urban sounding; not in any way pastoral or acoustic."
Wake Up The Nation won the Uncut Music Award 2010 for Best album of the Year. Uncut magazine editor Allan Jones, who chaired the judging panel, said: "The eventual winner, after an epic discussion, was an album that united both long-term fans among the judges and others of us who had previously been more sceptical. So congratulations to Paul Weller, whose brilliant Wake Up The Nation was the sound of a great artist in the form of his life, absolutely aflame with ideas."