The Jam - All Mod Cons (1978)
If the only Jam song you've ever heard is Absolute Beginners on the Grosse Point Blank Soundtrack, then you are a twenty-year-old version of me and have somehow found this blog from another dimension or reality. And my life is, as I have expected, simply an episode of Lost or Fringe, but has unquestionably been executive produced by J. J. Abrams.
But, in the more likely scenario that you are a different person who heard that song, liked it, but ended up exploring the back catalogs of The Clash, The English Beat, and The Specials rather than delving into the Jam, then thank me later...
All Mod Cons is widely considered their classic, the quintessential Jam record. If I were twenty years old in 1978, this would have been my favorite album of the year; incredibly catchy, intelligent lyrics, and a healthy spoonful of youthful cynicism (is that a thing?). It would have sounded great blasting from the tiny, tinny speakers of a brand new dodge omni. Imagine blasting the opening riff from To Be Someone out your windows, drowning out the car playing the Grease soundtrack next to you.
[ mp3 ]: The Jam - To Be Someone (Didn't We Have a Nice Time)
To Be Someone is a great intro to the Jam. It's two - two - two songs in one; welding together a catchy, rollicking verse with a heavy chorus that doesn't arrive until more than halfway through the record. One of the great cuts is David Watts, a Kinks cover that reminds you this band is English, if you've forgotten that over the first three tracks. Perhaps its the timing of this post, but I can't stop thinking about LCD Soundsystem when I hear the beginning of this track.
[ mp3 ]: The Jam - David Watts
The Jam lump their anglo-centric tracks together, as David Watts is followed immediately by the almost too sweet English Rose. In what has quickly become my favorite track on the record, we are treated to a stripped down Jam, with Paul Weller's voice highlighted against a finger-picked guitar and sound of waves lapping at the shore. It's an open mic on the HMS Endurance, circa 1914.
[ mp3 ]: The Jam - English Rose
Also, English Rose could have been an Oasis B-side.
What do you think? Let me know what your favorite Jam song is in the comments!