Archive for the Top Ten Category

The JAM: Top Ten.

Posted in Opinions, Top Ten on August 23, 2010 by Billy Shears

At this point, this blog has been dead for some time, and lest I turn into Rob O’Connor and just bide my time with this blog by making grocery lists that substitute as content, please cut me some slack, as I am just breaking back into updating, so I’m posting a few basically meaningless things to get back on track. Hence, I apologize for another BEST OF/TOP TEN LISTS type thing, but hey, doing the PIRANHA 3D review below was work enough for a day.

Did Jamaroquai lose his hat?

So THE JAM are probably my favorite band of all time. They are, these days, kind of one of those bands that you have played so often in the past, that they don’t get as many regular spins as they used to. However, since my pimp my ride 2001 VW Golf has only a tape deck in it, and I have a few JAM tapes from back in the day, they are still in fairly regular rotation. So this afternoon, I popped in Greatest Hits and when “In the City” kicks in, it still does it for me.

I kind of quickly thought about my Top Ten JAM tunes of all time. Doing so is really just asking to fail, as ten is far to few to be able to encompass what Weller and co achieved. Regardless, I thought it might be a nice way to get back in the swing of the bog. Sooooo, I present to you, my:

TOP TEN FAVORITE TUNES BY THE JAM. As of today, 8/23/2010.

(In no order, and one should assume this list is always changing, but whatever.)

1. “In the City” – The first song by the band I ever heard, and probably a lot of people’s first exposure to them. GREAT tune, great message (being from outside the “city” of Chicago, I could fully relate) and a riff so good The Pistols stole it for “Holidays in the Sun.” Then Paul hit Sid with a bottle and hospitalized him. All is fair.

2. “Ghosts” – Not sure how this one ranks among fans of the band, but it was really one of the more mellow tunes that really got me into loving the band. Great lyrics, and simple, laid back groove. Really excellent.

3. “Boy About Town” – Nice stab at Revolver meets Northern Soul. Song just propels along, then the horns kick in, etc. Excellent.

4. “Running on the Spot” – Love the whirling intro, and the way the song refuses to stagnate – something about it’s style has made it an all-time favorite.

5. “Going Underground” – The Jam’s first number one and strong contender for my favorite of this Top Ten list. From the classic build-up into the the furious finish, a  kiss off classic, classic, classic.

6. “Saturday’s Kids” – Weller had the same gift as Davies et al to describe ordinary life in extraordinary tunes, this being one that captures being a teenager perfectly. “Saturday’s kids play one arm bandits, they never win, but that’s not the point is it?”

7. “Eton Rifles” – Noel Gallagher said when he first heard this song, he thought the band had no right to be that good. Agreed. A top tune, and I like the fact it doesn’t polarize the factions involved and immediately side with the left wing students involved in this real life fiasco.

8. “Absolute Beginners” – As The Jam progressed, some fans pined for their good ol’ days of straight power-pop and complained about tunes being “boring.” Again, the punch of Northern Soul rears it’s head, and if this tune is boring, then so be it – it’s classic regardless.

9. “Standards” – …buuuuut, if it’s early power pop you dig, then I submit THIS tune as one of their finer efforts, on the critically panned, and now overlooked second album, This is the Modern World. Great ‘us against them’ set up, great WHO-like rave up, great chorus, great all around. (“Life From a Window” is another VERY underrated tune of this record…)

10. “Town Called Malice” – Another strong contender for favorite tune in their catalog, the Motown influence (rip-off?) really sounds great as done by Paul, Bruce and Rick. Perfect mix of soul and punk rock.

10. “Beat Surrender” – Even though I’m over 10 tunes, I have to include their swansong. Bittersweet but upbeat all the way. What a finish. “Bullshit is bullshit, it just goes by different names.”

Realizing that I had to cut a few tunes that are no doubt classics (“That’s Entertainment,” “Down in the Tube Station,” “Tales From the Riverbank,” “Start!” etc, etc) it would be interesting to get some feedback, and give-and-take on this list from other fans of the band.

Anyway, at least it’s another post…..