Thursday, 31 May 2018

The Jam - This Is The Modern World (1977)


Released on 18 November 1977

Recorded at Basing Street Studios, London

Running time 26:20


1. The Modern World
2. London Traffic
3. Standards
4. Life From A Window
5. The Combine
6. Don't Tell Them You're Sane
7. In The Street Today
8. London Girl
9. I Need You (For Someone)
10. Here Comes The Weekend
11. Tonight At Noon
12. The Midnight Hour

Often maligned as “the difficult second album” when Paul Weller supposedly suffered from “writer’s block”. You what? You having a Laugh?  - “The Modern World”; the Who-influenced “Standards”; the poetic “Life From A Window”; the rocking “Here Comes The Weekend”; the thoughtful “The Combine”; more Who vibes on “I Need You” and another dreamy one in “Tonight At Noon”. This was a far, far better album than it was ever given credit for. The sound on it is good too - full, punchy and solid, lots of impressive bass and drums. Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler were equally important to The Jam as Paul Weller at this point.

Indeed, "The Combine", with its excellent guitar/vocal fade out, is the equal of anything on the much-lauded next album, "All Mod Cons". It was the best thing The Jam had done so far, and is much underrated.

Back to Weller. Some writer's block. I believe those to be some of his best songs. Despite those that were to follow. “Tonight At Noon” is a great song, as is "London Girl". End of. "In The Street Today" bristles with punky energy. Even the closing cover of Wilson Pickett's "In The Midnight Hour" is more than acceptable, full of youthful attack and energy. Bruce Foxton's frenetically punky "London Traffic" is enjoyable, but his "Don't Tell The You're Sane" leaves something to be desired, however.

The sound on both these albums, as released on the "1977" box set, is excellent, as said earlier, as indeed it is on the more interesting than usual demo tracks and the live gig from London’s 100 club which is good as one could hope for from a sweaty, cramped room in 1977.

This is an unfairly condemned album, containing some good material, in my opinion. I love the cover too, the lads looking out under the Westway with the sun on their faces on the front and that classic Bruce Foxton "jump" shot on the back, so evocative of their live performances at the time. The inner lyric sleeve had some excellent artwork too. Give this one a chance and re-visit it.


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