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Thirty years ago, the Jam was on top of their game and regularly saw the top of the U.K. charts. But Paul Weller had become tired with the “Jam sound” and wanted to break away. He drew influence from bands of the day such as Joy Division and Wire. Listen to the jagged, angular guitar on “Set the House Ablaze” and “Scrape Away” and “Dream Time” and the Gang of Four–influenced funk of “Pretty Green.” The ’60s influences remained — “Start!” with its “Taxman” backing and “But I'm Different Now” with chords prescribed from “Dr. Robert.”

Acoustic guitars are strummed on “That's Entertainment.” With a riff lifted from the intro of early single “When You're Young,” this Jam classic paints a picture of a tough, if bleak urban landscape. It's a riff Weller would use again in '05 for solo single “Come On/Let's Go.”

The high points of the collection are “Man in the Corner Shop,” with its breezy “la, la la, la la, la” vocal hook and story of class consciousness, and “Boy About Town,” a brassy, uplifting moment of pure pop. Weller, by then, had become poet laureate to a generation of British youth. He would try once more to move away to pastures new on the next (and last) Jam album but to mixed results. He finally admitted that the only way for him to move on was to un-jam the Jam for good.

  • Album: Sound Affects 30th Anniversary Edition (2010)
  • Artist: The Jam
  • Label: Yep Roc
  • Songs: Disc 1 (1) Pretty Green (2) Monday (3) But I'm Different Now (4) Set the House Ablaze (5) Start! (6) That's Entertainment (7) Dream Time (8) Man in the Corner Shop (9) Music for the Last Couple (10) Boy About Town (11) Scrape Away
  • Disc 2 [alternate takes] (1) Start! (2) Liza Radley (3) The Dreams of Children (4) That's Entertainment (5) Pretty Green (6) Pop Art Poem (7) Rain (8) Boy About Town (9) Dream Time (10) Dead End Street (11) But I'm Different Now (12) Scrapeaway (13) Start! (14) Liza Radley (15) And Your Bird Can Sing (16) Monday (17) Get Yourself Together (18) Set The House Ablaze (19) Boy About Town (20) No One in the World (21) Instrumental (22) Waterloo Sunset
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