TJR presents… Top 10: The Jam

– To recognize the Shangri-Las and the Velvet Underground as sisters and brothers is to understand The Jam; Scotland's finest Rock n Roll stars.
  • Runtime: 38m.
  • Compiled from 186 collection entries @ 28-Oct-2020.
  • Fantasy Album Rating: 10.0 “Utterly perfect”
  • To access shuffle-play or avoid in-play interruption due to territorially blocked videos, it might be best playing directly via YouTube external-link.png

In The City by The Jam (1977)
(Paul Weller)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Punk
TJR saysIf you're gonna get ripped off, it might as well be by yourself, right? Taking the potential of “Happy When It Rains” to its electrifying conclusion, the vroom-vroom remake revelled in the power and the glory of the Jam pop machine, where shades, riffs and attitude mean everything, and drama-laden statements like “The way I feel tonight, oh I could die and I wouldn't mind” seem perfectly reasonable in the heat of the moment. It's a super-elite few who can pull this off; the Mary Chain have IT. Frank Black kens the score.

Down In The Tube Station At Midnight by The Jam (1978)
(Paul Weller)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Punk
TJR saysFrom the horn-enhanced opener “I Love Rock n Roll” to the feedback-entrenched “I Hate Rock n Roll” finale, the epic “Munki” is unrelenting in its brilliance, all the more remarkable for the fact that the brothers were physically and mentally apart throughout the whole process. Decadent guilt of the whore hound and the coke hound is the play on William's masterful “Degenerate”: “My lover touch my darkened soul, My lover lit my darkened soul”. He himself steps up to the mic. Through tension comes the purest edge; Mark E. Smith knew.

That’s Entertainment by The Jam (1980)
(Paul Weller)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” New Wave
TJR saysFirst out as a single in April, 1987 and included on “Darklands” a few months later. Eschewing the notion of the Jam as noisenik provocateurs first and foremost, the sugar-coated follow up to “Psychocandy” propelled the group into the nation's pop consciousness. “April Skies” was the peak of the phenomenon, hitting #8 in the UK charts, placing those shaggy bouffants in all the glossy pop mags, with no parental advisory: “Hand in hand in a violent life, making love on the edge of a knife”. To all the cool kids born under an April sky, salut!

Absolute Beginners by The Jam (1981)
(Paul Weller)

9.9 “All-time classic” New Wave
TJR saysSingle release (October, 1981). Weller's tribute to Colin MacInnes's 1958 novel was smart, sharp & chock-full of energy. On his Desert Island Discs appearance, he classed the book as “the mod bible”, connecting with the first modern wave of youth culture and its appetite for hip music and fashion. This top-value 45 came with an ace b-side too.

’A’ Bomb In Wardour Street by The Jam (1978)
(Paul Weller)

9.8 “All-time classic” Punk
TJR saysAA side to “David Watts” (August, 1978). There was an intense excitement to the single sides at this time and you could take your pick from hit after hit. This was a scathing attack on the hatred plaguing the country: “A Philistine nation, of degradation, and hate and war there must be more, it's Doctor Marten's A-P-O-C-A-L-Y-P-S-E”. Took pride of place on “All Mod Cons” a few months later.

Going Underground by The Jam (1980)
(Paul Weller)

9.8 “All-time classic” Punk
TJR saysReleased in March, 1980, this stand alone 7" exclusively housed two prime cuts, “Going Underground” & “Dreams Of Children”, and was pitched as a double A side. This, coupled with the underestimated strength of their followship propelled the song straight to the top of the charts in a matter of days, shocking even the group themselves, who flew back home from a tour of the States! The baby boomers had plenty to say for themselves: “You choose your leaders and place your trust, As their lies wash on down and their promises rust, You'll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns, And the public wants what the public gets, But I don't get what this society wants, I'm Going Underground”. Taking hard-hitting political critique to the top of the pop parade was one of the great triumphs of their generation.

English Rose by The Jam (1978)
(Paul Weller)

9.7 “All-time classic” Songwriter
TJR saysFrom “All Mod Cons” (November, 1978). Thoughtful is the byword which connects the whole on this album, for me, the group's greatest work. This positively anthemic punk-tamer was outstanding. The best use of foghorn since Van Morrison's “Into The Mystic”!

Smithers-Jones by The Jam (1979)
(Bruce Foxton)

9.7 “All-time classic” Songwriter
TJR saysFrom “All Mod Cons” (November, 1978). It was a splendid in it's first incarnation as the b-side to 'When You're Young', but when echoing the musical motifs of 'Eleanor Rigby', the all-strings LP re-arrangement of Foxton's song was revelatory – kudos to Rick Buckler for the idea. Watch out middle-class Michael, they'll shaft you too.

Funeral Pyre by The Jam (1981)
(Paul Weller, Rick Buckler, Bruce Foxton)

9.7 “All-time classic” New Wave
TJR saysSingle (May, 1981). A stupendous group effort, the muscle of Buckler n Foxton organically inventing drum n bass way before the synthesized genre existed. “The weak get crushed as the strong grow stronger” resonates powerfully.

Liza Radley by The Jam (1980)
(Paul Weller)

9.7 “All-time classic” Songwriter
TJR saysB-side to “Start” (August, 1980). The dark and mysterious Liza is almost as legendary as Sally Cinnamon, and would probably be her equal were she not hidden away on a b-side, albeit on a chart-topper. Such poignancy for one so young. Not content with their bold raid on Taxman's bassline on side A, the cheeky blighters re-introduced it on this flipside too.

TJR presents… Top 10: The Jam (via Spotify)

  • Runtime: 37m.
  • To access shuffle-play or overcome other issues with the embed application, it might be best playing directly via Spotify external-link.png

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