Our Favourite Shop

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Our Favourite Shop
Studio album by
Released8 June 1985
RecordedDecember 1984 to March 1985
The Style Council chronology
Café Bleu
Our Favourite Shop
Home and Abroad

Our Favourite Shop is the second studio album by the English group the Style Council. It was released on 8 June 1985, on Polydor, and was recorded ten months after the band's debut Café Bleu. It features guest vocalists, including Lenny Henry, Tracie Young, and Dee C Lee. The album contained "Come to Milton Keynes", "The Lodgers", "Boy Who Cried Wolf", and "Walls Come Tumbling Down!" which were all released as singles, with corresponding music videos. The three singles that were released in the UK all reached the top 40 on the UK charts.

On release, the album was received favourably by the majority of music critics, although opinions have become more negative in subsequent decades. The Style Council's most commercially successful album, it was an immediate commercial and critical success, and remained at the top of the charts for one week, displacing Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits. The album was the Style Council's only number one album in the UK. According to the BPI, the record sold over 100,000 copies, and was certified gold.

The multigenre album incorporates diverse stylistic influences, including soul, rap, jazz and rock styles. Recording was completed in March 1985. The cover, depicting the band posing inside a shop, was designed by Paul Weller and British artist Simon Halfon.


"I had a total belief in the Style Council. I was obsessed in the early years. I lived and breathed it all. I meant every word, and felt every action. Our Favourite Shop was its culmination."[1]

The album features fourteen original compositions (eight by Paul Weller, four co-written by Weller and Mick Talbot, and one co-written by Weller with Steve White), with one instrumental from Talbot, in its original British form.

Lyrical targets include racism, excessive consumerism, the effects of self-serving governments, the suicide of one of Weller's friends and what the band saw as an exasperating lack of opposition to the status quo. All of this pessimism is countered with an overarching sense of hope and delight that alternatives do actually exist—if only they can be seen. They also took a more overtly political approach than The Jam in their lyrics, with tracks such as "Walls Come Tumbling Down", "The Lodgers", and "Come to Milton Keynes" being deliberate attacks on 'middle England' and Thatcherite principles prevalent in the 1980s. "A Man of Great Promise" was Weller's eulogy to his school friend and early Jam member - Dave Waller - who had died from a heroin overdose in August 1982.[2]


The majority of the album's material was released (with different sequencing and packaged with an entirely different cover design) in the USA as Internationalists by Geffen Records (which has been a sister label to Polydor Records, the band's UK label, since 1998, under Universal Music Group).

Most countries (except for the original UK pressing) omitted the track "The Stand Up Comic's Instructions" as it was believed that its satire of racist attitudes would be misunderstood. The guest vocalist was the black British comedian, Lenny Henry imitating comedians such as Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson.[3] It was included on the UK and Canada pressing.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Q4/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[6]
Spin4/5 stars[7]
Uncut3/5 stars[8]
The Village VoiceB+[9]

In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau wrote: "One reason Paul Weller's rock and roll never convinced non-Brits was his reedy voice, which he has no trouble bending to the needs of the fussy phonographic cabaret he undertook so quixotically and affectedly after retiring the Jam... I'm sure the move has cost him [his] audience, but the new format suits the specifics of his socialism."[9]

Retrospectively, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote that Our Favourite Shop was "still quite eclectic, but it didn't seem as schizophrenically diverse as Café Bleu", while nonetheless praising the record as "more cohesive and stronger than the debut."[4]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul Weller, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Homebreakers" (Mick Talbot, Paul Weller)
  2. "All Gone Away"
  3. "Come to Milton Keynes"
  4. "Internationalists" (Talbot, Weller)
  5. "A Stones Throw Away"
  6. "The Stand Up Comic's Instructions" *
  7. "Boy Who Cried Wolf"
Side two
  1. "A Man of Great Promise"
  2. "Down in the Seine"
  3. "The Lodgers (or She Was Only a Shopkeeper's Daughter)" (Talbot, Weller)
  4. "Luck" (Talbot, Weller)
  5. "With Everything to Lose" (Steve White, Weller)
  6. "Our Favourite Shop" (Talbot)
  7. "Walls Come Tumbling Down!"

Later CD issues included "Shout to the Top!" ("Vision Quest" Version) as a bonus track.

Additional track listing


The Style Council
Guest vocalists
Session musicians
  • Camille Hinds – bass
  • Stewart Prosser – trumpet; flugelhorn
  • David DeFries – trumpet; flugelhorn
  • Mike Mower – flute; saxophone
  • Chris Lawrence – trombone
  • Clark Kent – contra bass
  • Gary Wallis – percussion
  • John Mealing – orchestration; string arrangement
  • Anne Stephenson – violin
  • Charlie Buchanan – violin
  • Jocelyn Pook – viola
  • Audrey Riley – cello
  • Peter Wilson – keyboard Sequencing
  • Patrick Grundy-White – French Horn
  • Steve Dawson – trumpet
  • Billy Chapman – saxophone
  • Kevin Miller – bass
  • Helen Turner – piano

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 5
Austrian Albums Chart[11] 23
Dutch Albums Chart[12] 11
German Albums Chart[13] 23
NZ Albums Chart[14] 6
Swedish Albums Chart[15] 30
UK Albums Chart[16] 1
US Billboard Chart[17] 123

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 25


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Gold 100,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paul Weller > The Style Council
  2. ^ https://standupandspit.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/dave-waller/
  3. ^ http://www.paulweller.com/stylecouncil.php
  4. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Our Favourite Shop – The Style Council". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  5. ^ Quantick, David (September 2017). "Vogue Trader". Q (376): 118.
  6. ^ Coleman, Mark (2004). "The Style Council". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 789. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. ^ Duerden, Nick (July 2008). "Discography: Paul Weller". Spin. 24 (7): 88. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  8. ^ Troussé, Stephen (March 2007). "The Style Council: Our Favourite Shop". Uncut (118).
  9. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (7 January 1986). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  10. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ ""Hitparade – Our Favourite Shop – The Style Council"". Hitparade. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  12. ^ "NL Charts > Alexander O'Neal". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  13. ^ "Musicload Album Charts". Musicload.de. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  14. ^ "Discografie The Style Council". DutchCharts.nl. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  15. ^ "SWE Charts > Alexander O'Neal". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  16. ^ "Chart Stats - The Style Council". theofficialcharts.com. Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  17. ^ "Chart Stats - The Style Council". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  18. ^ "British album certifications – The Style Council – The Cost of Loving". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 8 June 2015. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type The Cost of Loving in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]