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The Sound of The Jam (U.S.)

The Jam

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Album Review

If you already own the long out of print Greatest Hits set, then there's no real reason to invest in Sound of the Jam, which, predictably, repeats the majority of that program. However, for latecomers this provides an excellent overview of the output of one of Britain's most distinctive and influential new wave bands. The album's 20 tracks proceed in chronological order, documenting the Jam's progression from sharp, aggressive mod-influenced rock ("Modern World," "In the City") to explicitly Motown-influenced post-punk R&B ("Town Called Malice"), with frequent forays into surreal balladeering ("Butterfly Collector") and ambiguous love songs ("English Rose"). The band's sociopolitical stance is not always comprehensible, especially to American ears (and particularly to American ears born somewhere around the time these songs were written), but it clearly has something to do with populist politics, open-hearted romance, and some kind of gentle socialism. That such sentiments could translate into reliably tight, beautifully constructed guitar pop with a serrated edge is a testament both to frontman Paul Weller and his fellow bandmembers. Weller would later go on to make records of an increasingly unpredictable and inconsistent nature with the Style Council, but as Sound of the Jam makes clear, his first band got the best of his prodigious early talent. Highly recommended. [The British version of this album includes six additional tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Please Republish the Original Jam Albums

While this "Greatest Hits" album is great, it is a disservice to not have the original albums available. For example, Setting Sons is a true original punk era classic, and one of the great all time rock albums. But it is fragmented by the "hits" approach here on the ITMS. It's a shame that lesser artists from the same era have their catalogs fully represented, but one of the most influential bands from the original punk era are relagated to this partial approach.

The sound of the Jam

UK music at its best 29 years later down in the tube station still strikes a chord. The Modfather(Paul Weller) is due to perform a couple of these numbers at the Brits. I cannot wait. Reform the Jam Paul, if only for one year we want you back!

Must Have!

Watching this band live was simply amazing! They were the gods of mod, and were influential to countless others well beyond the mod community. Great music with meaning (read the lyrics and while the politics are English, the ideals are universal). While iTunes is wonderful in many ways, it continues to lack in selection. This is but a taste of this incredibly relevant band!


Formed: 1975 in Woking, Surrey, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

The Jam were the most popular band to emerge from the initial wave of British punk rock in 1977; along with the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Buzzcocks, the Jam had the most impact on pop music. While they could barely get noticed in America, the trio became genuine superstars in Britain, with an impressive string of Top Ten singles in the late '70s and early '80s. The Jam could never have a hit in America because they were thoroughly and defiantly British. Under the direction of guitarist/vocalist/songwriter...
Full Bio

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