The Jam
In The City


5.0
classic

Review

by clercqie USER (40 Reviews)
May 30th, 2011 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1977 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Weller shows the kids (and adults) were it's at.

"A kick in the balls, that's entertainment", Paul Weller sang in 1980. By that time, The Jam had evolved into one of Britain's finest bands. But their 1977 debut at times feels just like that: a kick in the balls. It's aggressive, fast and smart all at the same time, and this can easily be credited to the masterful songwriting skills of Weller. At the age of 18, he urged young people across the nation to stand up for their beliefs (this came out amidst the heights of the punk movement, mind you), calling for a revolution of sorts. However, whereas the Sex Pistols preached "No Future" and spitted on everything that came before them, The Jam honored their idols in their music. Instead of calling out for anarchy, they just wanted the adults to take them seriously. And a lot of frustrated young people followed Weller and his gang.

All this is already evident in the opening track Art School. "Who makes the rules that make people select/Who is to judge that your ways are correct/The media as watchdog is absolute ***/The TV telling you what to think", sings Weller, saying the future belongs to the youth and that they don't have to succumb to the idiotic visions of the older generation or the media. Accompanying the lyrics is a refined form of punk riffs. Instead of just playing the same chord for 3 minutes straight, the music takes cues from garage bands such as The Kinks and shifting tempos in the riffs are quite common. This results in an accentuation on each separate note played, making the end result more powerful and urgent.

As stated before, The Jam didn't want to spit on their musical idols. Apart from the influences of 60's garage and mod bands, the debut also includes two covers. Batman Theme is pretty straightforward, modeled after the The Who version. It still rocks, though and is a great conclusion of the first half of the record. The reworking of Slow Down, originally by rock 'n' roll/ R&B artist Larry Williams, however is impressive in how it transforms the mellow original into a blazing punk anthem, and as such, it's one of the album highlights.

As a resting point between the fast riffage, we have Away From The Numbers and Sounds From The Street. The subdued tempo lets the lyrics of Weller shine, when he reminisces about being proud of who he is and where he comes from. "That's more than you, at least I'm doing something", he yells at the end of the latter song, and the kids are listening.

With In The City, The Jam have recorded a real punk/mod masterpiece. Many of the lyrics are still relevant today, which is proof of the writing skills of Weller, who - even to this day - still can write a decent tune. A kick in the balls, that's entertainment, but not quite as entertaining as this wonderful debut.



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user ratings (102)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
clercqie
May 30th 2011


6521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Second review, critique is appreciated ;)

dimsim3478
May 30th 2011


8894 Comments


Absolutely fantastic review, clercqie. I only have one issue; make sure that you also discuss the album as a whole, not singular songs. From what you've written in your past two reviews, this can't be too hard for you. Can't wait to see more from you, man. Pos'd.

Love The Jam. Oh, nostalgia...

Digging: Crunk - DEMO 01

clercqie
May 30th 2011


6521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks man



The thing with the 2 albums I did so far is that a lot of the songs sound alike, so descibing one in detail is like describing them all...

illmitch
May 30th 2011


5511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very good job can really tell the difference between this and the last one



love this album



if all of the songs sound similar what i would do (in cases where i've reviewed albums like that) is

describe the overall sound of the album, and then point out specific tracks that exemplify that sound

clercqie
May 30th 2011


6521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Right, thanks for the comment!



Also, why do modern bands don't sound more like this?

AliW1993
May 30th 2011


7511 Comments


Good review, an improvement on your previous one. I'd suggest what has already been said about talking about the album as a whole, and I'd also suggest not using bold in the future. It just looks better if you only use speech marks I think.

I'll get around to listening to the Jam one day...

Kaleid
May 30th 2011


746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A solid second review. Maybe talk about a few more songs, but you set the scene well in your intro and you talked about lyrics as well as music, which I think helps when reviewing a band like The Jam. This album is so good.

clercqie
May 30th 2011


6521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks to the 2 of you.



I'd also suggest not using bold in the future




Well, my weekly music magazine has done it like that for over 40 years (not that I'm that old). It catches your attention more, I find.

porch
October 30th 2011


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the jam always struck me as being really phoney/full of shit



doesn't help that aside from a couple of good singles the music was rly clumsy and derivative







clercqie
October 30th 2011


6521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't recall ever agreeing with you, Porch :p

porch
October 30th 2011


8460 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

just the way things should be

menawati
November 1st 2013


16590 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"the jam always struck me as being really phoney/full of shit"



aw, sad face

johnnyboy1973
September 16th 2014


9 Comments


this entire album has so much raw punk energy, it's a shame it's not as well known as the clash or the pistols



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