Listening to this today I forgot how many amazing singles the Jam released. It seems like every one of them is a mini classic, from one of my favourites, News of the World (go Foxton) to Beat Surrender (Weller couldn’t wait to start the Style Council, he started it with this single).
After listening to this I think The Jam really were a singles band, they never made an album to match.
I still think A Town Called Malice is perhaps one of the best pop singles to ever get to No. 1, great tune and razor-sharp lyrics.
Hidden gem; Funeral Pyre, a real overlooked gem.
Some of the best lyrics ever written-
I first felt a fist, and then a kick
I could now smell their breath
They smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs
And too many right-wing meetings
Wellerean Poetry at his most urban ethereal (eh?). These lines always had a particular resonance for me as I would, in later life, get beaten up on the Tyne and Wear Metro by a bunch of tuffs. They Smelt of afterschool clubs, and public school and too many chess-club meetings.
This is Weller and boys sounding grown up (not only was he asking questions, but he was considering what the answers could be) and I think it is one of their strongest albums. Some of the standouts are Mr Clean, which is outstanding and the very angry ‘A’ Bomb, spit those words out Mr W. With David Watts The Jam show how to do a proper cover version, and own it. Every time I hear The Kinks version, I have The Jam’s version in my head.
Hidden gem: English Rose (this is where the punks stopped listening)
Micro review: Weller grows up, but gets angrier.