A Gift From The Jam
Why people bash this album is beyond me. To my ears it falls just behind Sound Affects as the Jam album. Maybe it’s the turn towards a more overt R&B sound on Precious and A Town Called Malice (and a couple of others). I mean, Allmusic gives it a paltry 2.5 stars, a pathetic rating, and states that it is “an uneven album marked by overindulgence’s like the instrumental “Circus” and unnecessarily long songs.” Maybe they’re bitter over the fact this new direction was the beginning of the end for one of their favorite groups. Maybe because this direction birthed the Style Council, Weller’s much maligned (unjustifiably so) ‘80’s plastic soul outfit. I mean, Ghosts is right up there with the best of Jam “ballads”, The a fore mentioned ‘R&B’ tracks phenomenally prophetic (not to mention a blast to listen to still!) in retrospect, the overtly political lyrics remain relevant today! Unsung gems like Just Who Is The 5 O Clock Hero?, Carnation and the singles from this era The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow) and Beat Surrender litter the deluxe version of this album and even the missteps (their misguided and quite silly rendition of Edwin Starr’s WAR, for one example) seem alright to me, and at the worst are interesting experiments.
All you Mod purists that hate on this album, well, I ain’t got no time for ya! All others would be advised to give this one another listen.