The Jam - Snap!
Denials aside, the Jam clearly drew some of their influence from the early releases of bands such the Who, the Kinks and the Small Faces. Yet they mixed it with their own brand of high energy to produce some powerful punk which was a cut above the often shambolic offerings of lesser bands. However, the Jam were never to everyone's taste, and I can think of at least one musically knowledgeable friend who shudders with indignation at the mere mention of their name. This album, now fully encompassed on CD whereas the earlier release was nine tracks short, has one part devoted to those early days, and the second devoted to the later emanations.
The first part, what was the first disc on the original double vinyl release, is possibly the best and contains gems such as "This Is the Modern World", "In the City" and "Going Underground". The highlight of this part is inevitably the dark masterpiece "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" which captures the danger of a mugging in a tube station: the fear of the assailants -
"They smelt of pubs/And Wormwood Scrubs/And too many right-wing meetings"
It concludes with the hidden menace that the assailants have taken the victim's keys and his wife will be alone at home asleep... The track is as relevant today as it was when it was first released, almost thirty years ago, except that the assailants these days are more likely to be kids pissed up on cheap cider rather than ex-con racist skinheads.
The second part of the album has more mellow and more thoughtful tracks as the band matured and Weller's songwriting matured with it. "The Butterfly Collector" is a condemnation of the lifestyle of someone who collects men; "The Bitterest Pill" is a lament for the sad events which everyday life can bring a person. "English Rose" is somewhat spoilt, as far as memories go, by being the backing music to an English Tourist Board television ad.
Unless you are an absolute fan of the Jam and must possess everything they have ever put out, then this album is good enough for you. And it is a cracker! As the UK's leading punk-singles band, the album is choc-a-bloc with singles. And some fantastic singles they were too. Sadly missed, the Jam fell victim to Paul Weller's ego. And once the Jam had gone, Weller never achieved the success he had hoped for while the rest of the band sank back into obscurity.
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on 2011-03-28 CharlesMartel Said:
Don't get the earlier CD - that has only 20 tracks instead of the 29 which are on this version and the original vinyl.