|All Artists: The Jam|
Title: Greatest Hits
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Release Date: 1/1/1991
Genres: Alternative Rock, Rock
Styles: Hardcore & Punk, New Wave & Post-Punk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
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Great collection from a criminally neglected band
John Alapick | Wilkes-Barre, PA United States | 01/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"During the punk movement of the late-70's and early-80's, bands such as the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and especially the Clash had gained commercial success and loads of critical acclaim for their stripped down approach to music. In Britain, this movement was even larger with a band called the Jam leading the charge along with the Clash. Sadly, while the Clash have gained legendary status in the U.S. and even have their songs endorsing products for major companies, the Jam have remained unknown here unless you watch Alternative Nation on VH1 Classic.
The Jam's Greatest Hits shows a band that could be just as angry and focused as the Clash and having tons more musicianship than either the Ramones or the Sex Pistols. It also shows the exceptional songwriting skills of Paul Weller. The track listing is chronological showing the band maturing from a straight ahead punk band to a band which could jump between several genres and still write excellent songs. The opening tracks "In the City", "All Around the World", "The Modern World", and "News of the World" are energetic punk songs with tight musicianship and great backing vocals. The track "David Watts", originally done by the Kinks, is one of the few cases where the cover is actually better than the original. After these tracks you see the growth of Weller's songwriting. Tracks such as "Strange Town", "Going Underground", and "When You're Young" retained the energy of their earlier efforts but were more melodic offering a prelude to the punk-pop which would dominate the charts in Britain and the U.S. in the 90's. The songs "Eton Rifles" and "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" showcase Weller's excellent lyrics which often spoke of British social issues. The acoustic "That's Entertainment" is arguably their best song sporting excellent harmonies and simple yet memorable melodies. The diversity continues with the snappy horns in "Absolute Beginners" and the Motown sound of "Town Called Malice." The track "Precious" is an excellent funk song with a repetitive bass line and Weller's slashing guitar work. "Just Who Is The 5-Clock Hero" shows the band branching into ska while the ballad "The Bitterest Pill" and "Beat Surrender" are excellent pop songs that effectively closed the band's career. Other great songs here are the Beatles-influenced "Start" and the gloomy "Funeral Pyre" with its rockabilly guitar and Rick Buckler's hyperactive drumming. What's worth noting is that while both the Jam and the Clash both bounced among several genres throughout their short careers, the Clash's results, while often good, weren't nearly as consistent as the Jam. This is an outstanding collection of a band which never received its due in America. Highly recommended.
The "Other" Punk Band
Charles A Galupi | Euless, Texas | 02/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just as the Kinks get lost behind the Beatles Stones and Who and Animals [and Yardbirds, for all you hep cats] when one talks about the British Invasion, the Jam get lost behind the Ramones, Pistols and Clash when one mentions punk. Bono once said that seeing the Jam in Dublin, seeing and hearing Paul Weller ripping into that Rickenbacher 12 string is what started him on the idea of a band. Yes, the Clash were "the only band that mattered" but the Jam were just as important to the punk movement as the "garage band" simplicity of the Who was to the early Mods.Kicking off with a ferocious blast like In the City [think the venom of Elvis Costello kicking of with Welcome to the Working Week] to The Modern World to the Kinks cover David Watts and the tales of the scary subway, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight and the driving, Beatles [Good Morning, Good Morning] of the new kid in town, Strange Town, the Jam run full throttle at you RIGHT UP TO Paul Weller embracing funk and soul [the same way the Clash embrced Raggae and rap] starting with Start! [so like XTC!], the beautiful, That's Entertainment, the super funky Absolute Beginers, Town Called Malice anf the closer Beat Surrender. And like the Clash, the lasted five years, said their piece and were gone. If there is a complaint, it is the missing B Side "Buterfly Collector" and the sound is thin at times, often leaning on the treble.. maybe this is a problem with being a three piece, perhaps this was/is corrected on later remasters. But if you're looking for the next band to fill in your "original punk singles I have lost" section, try this."