Friday, September 05, 2008

It's A Tough, Tough World

So, speaking of the Albums Of Our Lives, which we weren't...

The economy's gone tits up, the price of oil and a bag of peas is soaring and the Right are on the rise boo-hiss. Hey! It's just like old times! We best play Sound Affects!!

You know by now I'm no good at all that critical reappraisal/album review stuff, so feel free to put your own little piece together with these handy fridge-magnet phrases....

Joy Division Wire Gang Of Four Foxton Buckler underrated rhythm section Revolver melodic bass offbeat drumming Vic Coppersmith-Heaven swansong studio time 'five minutes whilst pissed, Weller's best song yet' Percy Bysshe Shelley Shelly's Shoes Paisley shirts Thatcher class war fans favourite 'Man In The Corner Shop'.

More of this record's lyrics made my fifth form jotter than any other. Just looking at the cover* still fills me with wonder. And do you know the whole thing only lasts 35 minutes?

28 (!) years on, is this the best Jam album really?

The Jam - 'Monday' (1980)
The Jam - 'Dream Time' (1980)
The Jam - 'Man In The Corner Shop' (1980)
The Jam - 'Scrape Away' (1980)

* source


  1. we're doomed... doomed i tell you...

    but gee whiz did i love this record. yes i did. then i sort of went off them cos every horrid stupid boy started liking them and it was no fun anymore. actually that's not true cos i liked the gift too which i sometimes think is even better than this.
    who are the kids going to turn to this time ?

  2. Well, we still DO have Mr. Weller making music, don't we?

    And I shall be front and center here in DC on 9/13...

  3. You crafty young bastard Davy. You knew some of us couldn't resist a response - even though considering the 'best' Jam album is akin to standing back and commenting objectively on the back of one's hand.

    Is the criterion for 'the best' the one we liked listening to the most?

    As a 'vision of albion' at the turn of the decade, Sound Affects sure cuts the English mustard.

    The beauty of Monday aside the vitriol of Scrape Away highlight Weller's versatility and maturity, but what's the Frenchie stuff at the end of the latter all about?

    Bizarrely, Set The House Ablaze works better now in the Carling Arenas as 'From The Jam' step into their Autumn tour. I never really totally bought into the track back in the day, and found it somewhat er, cold! However, Foxton, Buckler and friends bring poker-hot spinetingling new life to it on stage.

    I heard Pretty Green being used as a backdrop to Football Focus last weekend - which was rather apt. Unlike some, I'm sure that Pretty Green would have made No 1 if chosen as the single release - as wanted by Polydor. On the back of Going Underground/Dreams Of Children earlier that year, they couldn't fail. Start is always a summer song to me, whereas Sound Affects will always be a winter album.

    But I'm Different Now has Weller more than nodding to the fact that he'd began to freely admit his fuck ups. (This certainly made him more endearing to those of us young men who were unable to keep a girlfriend).

    Weller's teens were all gorn by 1980 and the jaded cynicism seeped through the seams. 'Though the vitality of the brass section (and albeit a far superior flex-disc version of) Boy About Town suggested otherwise. His mind was widening, if not his stay-press strides.

    Sure, there is the bright, warm pop amongst the chill, but fuck me, Music For The Last Couple is for lying down and avoiding.

    I could go on, but I suspect there's a few younger eyes glazing over at the back.

    From whistful and dreamy to punchy and poppy, this chiefly 'studio creation' wasn't their 'peak' to my lugs. But then I suspect our age may have a lot to do with it Davy? I'm 46 this year and All Mod Cons is (and always will be) the red white and blue measuring stick.

  4. Just like the old days indeed. Will Weller be telling us to vote conservative again? Ooh, I'll get hate mail for that. For the record I think Sound Affects probabaly is their best (or All Mod Cons or Setting Sons).

  5. ...and probabaly is a word where I come from...

  6. There was a farm near Shaftesbury that sold it by the gallon!

  7. It was rumoured to be rocket fuel!

  8. You two! Get a room! (with a bottle of scrumpy in it).

  9. It's always been my favourite. I had this on one side of the cassette and the gift on the other. I love the bass on this album...

    Set The House Ablaze still amazes me after all this time. It got me through a bad day this week funnily enough.

  10. of the best b-sides ever, and possibly one of The Jam's best songs for me came out at this time too.

    Sing along now: "and all the people in the town..."

  11. I was just about to say that DVD's lovely comment on your beautiful beautiful post made me think that the one sad thing about this album is that that song isn't on it.

    I also had this and The Gift on two side of a C90 and I listened to this more. 'But I'm Different Now' is one of my very very favourite pure pop songs, Music For The Last Couple is one of those instrumentals that I can see and, well, isn't it fine. Isn't it fine.

  12. Thank you dear hearts - and just in case anyone is wondering what on earth it is we're talking about...

    The Jam - 'Liza Radley' (1980)

  13. I know I'm late....but I havent had a chance in recent days to visit many other people.

    I'll take the brickbats by suggesting that 'Sound Affects' is merely the third best album LP that was released by The Jam.

    I cant see past 'All Mod Cons' and I also think 'Setting Sons' is superior.

    The thing is, I dont think The Jam ever made a truly outstanding LP - like The Smiths a few years later, they kept too many singles and stunning b-sides away from the LPs for their own good.

    All three of the albums (and indeed 'In The City' and 'The Gift') have some superb songs amidst some stuff that is disappointing. The main reason I place 'Sound Affects'in the bronze medal position is the weakness of three songs.

    I never was a fan of 'Set The House Ablaze' back in 1980, and it still fails to ignite any pasions in me. 'Dream Time' is a bit of a dirge, and 'Scrape Away' is just dull.

    I think it also stems from the thinking that in a live sense, the band weren't as good on the Sound Affects and subsequent tours as they had been in earlier years.

    But going by all the previous comments, I may well be in a minority with those views.

  14. Ooh! Yes! I like The Jam and I agree on your difficult choice as what might be their best LP. My copy of the LP came with Going Underground as a freebie bonus single. It also highly recommended to the unitiated (if there are any). I take back what I said about your music taste on that other rather obscure blog....

  15. Obscure!?!? Now you're banned!

  16. Sorry I'm late.

    No, Setting Sons still is



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