Still the best single-disc Jam compilation available
Kevin O'Conner | 06/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's yet another misunderstood relic from the early days of the CD format that drives many folks into conniptions. What many of today's music buyers don't seem to realize is that CD pressing plants initially could not guarantee that discs longer than 60-65 minutes in length would play properly on all CD players. Combined with the trappings of the industry's own hype (which touted the CD's 74-minute storage capacity), labels tried wherever possible to make sure all albums released on the CD format would fit on a single disc. Thus, Snap! was "re-compiled from the double album and cassette...and omit[ted] eight tracks to make it suitable for a single compact disc." To differentiate it from the complete album and cassette editions, the title was changed to Compact Snap.Compact Snap - which was my proper introduction (apart from the videos for "Absolute beginners", "Start!", and "A town called malice", which MTV used to play in its early days) to the band - is still the best of the single-disc Jam compilations I've encountered. I've never been all that fond of "News of the world" or "Funeral pyre", but the rest of the set is untouchable, hitting many of the band's highlights - among them "In the city", "Going underground", "That's entertainment", "Start!", "A town called malice", and "Beat surrender" - while chronicling the progress of the band from its beginnings in the midst of the punk era to the more overt soul influences of its later records.From the guitar riff that opens "In the city" to the pure joy that is "Beat surrender", Compact Snap reveals The Jam to be easily the most vital band of its era. Whether your preference is for the former, the latter, or somewhere in between, there's no denying the band's energy and passion - two things that no band should be without.Completists should note that the version of "Funeral pyre" included here is a remix, and that the demo version of "That's entertainment" differs from the demo found on the Direction, Reaction, Creation box set."
Charles Sikkenga | 05/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Snap", in its original LP issue, was perhaps one of the best group compilations ever assembled, encapsulating the Jam's journey from Who-influenced punk to the wonderful admixture of ska and soul that marked their final years. I can mark my changing tastes via the four sides of the record, having been in my youth a Side 1 advocate (that's where all the punk ones were, from "In the City" to "Mr. Clean," if I recall correctly) to now, when i'm a Side 3 and 4 man (roughly "Going Underground" to "Beat Surrender.")Unfortunately, this all-too-compact version of Snap diminishes the sense of having the Jam's entire career to peruse. Too many important songs were axed. Here's what's missing: the great, desperate "Away from the Numbers" and "Billy Hunt", the gorgeous "English Rose" and "Butterfly Collector", "Thick as Thieves"! merely one of their finest songs, as is the deleted "Tales from the Riverbank". Other victims were "Man in the Cornershop" and "Mr. Clean."There's too much great music on this abridged "Snap" for it to be marked down too severely, but it's a shame that is all we now have. With the passing of the LP edition, thus went the only economical way to enjoy the Jam in full-- now you either choose riches (the numbingly extensive [money] five-disc import box set) or famine (this inadequate set, and the other single-disc compilations that all miss the boat in some way).A reissued 2-disc Snap, with all the original tracks restored, plus supplemented if needs be with the few gems left off the original Snap (Boy About Town, etc), would be the best of all worlds-- one day, maybe."
How good is this?
Charles Sikkenga | Grand Haven, MI USA | 04/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Jam never made it in America and were completely unknown to me until reviewers started namechecking them in seemingly every third Green Day review circa 1994. Discovering them is a richly rewarding experience and this is probably the best place to do it (although "Greatest Hits" has a very similar track list and is more readily and cheaply availible). The record starts in '77 with the Jam as a razor-sharp, mod-influenced punk band and follows the band as growth and experimentation leaves them in almost neo-soul territory by the time they split in the mid 80s. Along the way, one can revel in Paul Weller's genius songwriting and the band's crisp playing--especially Bruce Foxton's spunky bass.
Even 30 years on, every track virtually explodes with tunefulness and energy. I can think of few bands EVER who are simply this much fun to listen to and whose tunes have stayed so fresh for so long. Essential."
Soulful Modern Rock
Scott McFarland | Manassas, VA United States | 01/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great music. The best of the Jam's music is summarized on this CD and on "The Jam Collection". It's a great set of songs, played with passion and precision."
Great Anthology but Not So Great Sound Quality!
Frederick Baptist | Singapore | 10/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a real treat for all Jam fans. This mini-lp sleeve replica packaging is a work of art and we even get a mini-cd "45" version of a few of their live works as well. Also included is a booklet which contains all the lyrics in both English and Japanese. The other two cds contain a very good retrospective of all their work from "In the City" all the way to their Soul flirtations on "The Bitterest Pill" and on their swansong, "Beat Surrender" before Paul Weller went on to form the band Style Council shortly after.
Although lumped together with the ilk of other punk bands of the time like the Sex Pistols in the beginning and the Clash, the Jam's work differs in many ways to the former two. Firstly, Paul Weller could really write great tunes and even better lyrics. For this reason, I'd compare their work to a much harder version of that of Elvis Costello's work with the Attractions.
"Down In the Tube Station At Midnight" is an excellently written statement against a racially-motivated mugging and is very moving as well. The bass runs and the brilliant guitar work have to be heard to be believed. My favourite tune is "Going Underground" which is also another great feat of songwriting. Other tunes like the tribute to the Beatles' "Taxman", "Start!", "Eton Rifles" and "That's Entertainment" will ensure that the Jam will go down as among Britain's best ever musicians.
One thing I'd like to highlight is the brilliant work which often goes unnoticed that Bruce Foxton does throughout. His bass stylings and runs are fantastic on every track. While Paul plays good rhythm guitar, Bruce's bass work ranks him among the better bass players to have ever come out of England.
All in all, this is a very good retrospective of the lifes' work of a great band. Although the remastered sound quality isn't the best as some tracks still sound a little muddy, this is probably the best version of this album that is currently out there.