Thursday, April 24, 2014

And the public wants what the public gets (The Jam) #176 - 177

The Jam Going Underground/ The Dreams Of Children (Polydor, POLY 73, 1980)

The Jam Town Called Malice/ Precious (Polydor, 2059 456, 1982)

I don't buy into the whole Paul Weller as national treasure, modfather figure that he seems to have morphed into over the last dozen or so years. 

You can extrapolate from that statement that I was never a Jam fan. Never bought any Jam albums. I hated The Style Council pose and I only have one of his solo albums - the rather wonderful, I admit, 22 Dreams.

But I did love these two A sides at the start of the eighties. Going Underground was a thrill when I heard it in 1980 - full of passion and punkish attitude with those slashing guitar stabs. It still sounds great but the lyrics have me a tad perturbed in 2014. In hindsight these lyrics now sound a little disingenuous. Going underground? I want nothing this society's got? Do me a favour!

I guess it's wrong to do that though - judge a piece of music from hindsight. Weller was at least denouncing hate in 1980 and trying to stick it to the man.

So - let's go back.

As a middle class university student in Nu Zild in 1980 I liked The Jam's energy (as I did The Damned and Sex Pistols) but I was a million miles from understanding youth attitudes in early eighties Britain. 

The Motownish Town Called Malice has, in comparison, stood up better as a set of lyrics. I like the social commentary without preaching stance he takes here. Lamenting what is without getting overtly nostalgic for what's been lost is a pretty neat trick, so hats off to Paul Weller.

Hidden gems: The Dreams Of Children is run of the mill Jam. Supposedly a double A side (which went to number 1 in the UK) it pales in comparison to the A side for me. 

Precious is a funk shuffle with horns that doesn't hold any appeal to me. The single was also billed as a double A side at the time (and also reached number 1 in the UK) but I'm not sure how much it was due to the uncharacteristic sound of Precious.

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