22 Dreams | 4 stars out of 5
Paul Weller might not be the beloved father figure here that he is in England, but between the Jam's mod-punk firebombs and the Style Council's svelte soul, his place in rock history is secure. His solo career, however, has been hit or miss, and the UK press, in an Oedipal move, derided much of his late '90s work as “dad rock.”
22 Dreams isn't a triumphant return, but it's a success. It's a coherent hodgepodge, a 21-track compendium of familiar forays into blue-eyed soul, rousing rockers (including a collaboration with Oasis' Noel Gallagher) and thoughtful ballads plus some new diversions: a jazzy instrumental (a tribute to Alice Coltrane), a spacey keyboard experiment (111) and a spiritual manifesto (God). At nearly 70 minutes, 22 Dreams could use some pruning of a few momentum-killing piano ballads, but the 50-year-old Weller is still pushing, and that's exciting.
Steve Klinge, The Philadelphia Inquirer