The Jam
Snap!


5.0
classic

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
November 30th, 2011 | 15 replies | 3,627 views


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: That’s entertainment…

The Jam were one of the greatest and most popular punk era bands, and nowhere is their charm and talent better witnessed than on the remastering of their perfect compilation album, Snap!. Outside of the UK, The Jam’s name probably doesn’t mean much, but back on British soil, Paul Weller and co.’s mod-influenced brand of punk is remembered fondly by a slew of defining singles and albums that critics still revere to this day.

The reason Snap! comes especially recommended for neophytes (or indeed existing fans), is because it rapidly and thrillingly tells the story of this seminal English group, taking in essential non-album singles, B-sides and album cuts to tell the tale in full. And until 2006, Snap! remained a 1983 vinyl, with the only way of catching a glimpse of its concise delights on compact disc format by picking up the truncated Compact Snap!. Part of what made Snap! so worthwhile was its efficiency – containing just the right amount of material, sitting in the sweet spot between too skimpy and too indulgent. So to witness the full album, restored to its original chronological sequencing, is a delight; the remastering serving as the cherry atop an already delicious cake.

It’s not just the layout or remastering that makes Snap! as good as it is, but something rather simpler – the music itself. Snap! choses the right tracks, puts them in the right order and picks just enough of them to educate, satisfy and save from smothering. Era-defining non-album cuts, such as the fiery ‘Going Underground’ and pretty B-sides (on a par with some of the band’s A-sides, they were that strong) like ‘The Butterfly Collector’ are included alongside all the essential album cuts, providing a neat and endlessly efficient method of collecting all The Jam material a non-dedicated fan could ever need.

The group’s early, punky singles, which were more polished and hook-laden than their contemporaries, roar with a youthful energy, as Weller belts out informed tales of urban living and the media (‘In The City’, ‘News of the World’). The group soon evolved and became sharper and more pop-wise, as Snap! moves on to influence-baring tracks such as the straight-ahead but joyful cover of The Kinks’ ‘David Watts’, the witty environment portrait of ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’, and the gorgeously mellow ‘English Rose’ – an alternative national anthem if one were ever worthy.

By the time the second disc starts The Jam were all guns blazing – the angular post-punk addictiveness of ‘The Eton Rifles’ and ‘Going Underground’; the perfect acoustic portrait of dissatisfied youth life, ‘That’s Entertainment’, managing to be both fiery and refined; the ‘Taxman’-rivalling bass chords of ‘Start!’; and the gloriously infectious new-wave pop of late singles, best witnessed by the bittersweet charm of ‘Town Called Malice’. The band is sharp – the riffs are memorable and hooky; the rhythm section is pounding and punky one moment, then refined and paced the next, adapting to the tone of Weller’s lyrics, of which, were supremely informed and reflective of the emotions of the youth inhabiting his home country circa 1977-1982. Snap! is simply an essential and perfectly compiled collection of defining songs from one of Britain’s finest punk-era bands – one that far too many have missed and no longer have an excuse to continue to ignore.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



6443 Comments


One of my favorite bands ever!



Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The Jam are awesome. Shame few people on this site are aware of them.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



6443 Comments


British bands on an American site, etc...

This seems a great compilation, but I already have all the albums so I don't think I'll get this...

WHEN I'M IN THE CROWD, I DON'T FEEL ANYTHING

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, if you have all their stuff this might be of no use to you. But it is remastered, and for everyone else, this is better than the majority of best-of comps as an introduction to the band and also as a way of collecting their essential stuff in one place.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



6443 Comments


Tracklist really makes it seem that way (better than most comps, that is) :D
Name your fav Jam album, Tom

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hmmm, tough. Sound Affects off of the top of my head.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



6443 Comments


Most obvious choice if you ask me, it's a hell of an album.
My pick is All Mod Cons, they never topped that musically imo. Although lyrically they're all pretty equal

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That album is great too. I prefer Sound Affects a bit more though because it has That's Entertainment - ridiculously good tune. Love Start! and Man in the Corner Shop too.

astrel
November 30th 2011



2614 Comments


Absolute Beginners is one of my favorite tracks ever.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That's cool - not the most obvious Jam track to reference.

KILL
November 30th 2011



71482 Comments


down in the tube station at midnight is such a good song

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

Acanthus
November 30th 2011



9537 Comments


Punk eh?

WhiteNoise
December 18th 2011



3108 Comments


oh wow the Jam!! Easily one of my favourite bands (I have this on Vinyl as well as a few others, and the discography on CD)

It's so sad that this band has basically ben forgotten...

KILL
December 18th 2011



71482 Comments


have they

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
December 18th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It appears they have on this site, at least.



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