Compact Snap! Review

artist: The Jam date: 06/16/2006 category: compact discs
The Jam: Compact Snap!
Release Date: 1983
Label: Polygram
Genres: New Wave, Mod Revival, British Punk, Punk
Number Of Tracks: 21
Essential compilation of the best of one of Britain's most influential bands of the late '70s/early '80s.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
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overall: 9.7
Compact Snap! Reviewed by: Crash91, on june 16, 2006
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Sound: 'Compact SNAP!' was The Jam's first 'Best Of' album, and the choices of songs were amazing. The tracks are in order of when The Jam turned from a punk-rock band into a pop group. This album contains all great Jam hits (apart from the less prolific 'Just Who Is The 5 O' Clock Hero?' which wasn't that good) and great b-sides, from 'In The City' to 'Beat Surrender'. The opening track 'In The City' was The Jam's debut single, and it was a great punk-rock song which contains a blazing guitar riff from Paul Weller (lead guitarist). It was a sensational track to start of this album. The first half of this album was punk-rock Jam, this can be heard on tracks like 'The Modern World', 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight' which contains a terrific bass-line and 'The Eton Rifles'. However, there was a song named 'Smithers-Jones' which was composed by Bruce Foxton (bassist). It had no bass and no drums in it at all and it had orchestral backing. That track threw the album off balance as the previous tracks were great punk-rock songs. However, when 'Going Underground' appears on this album, that rescued the album from going horribly wrong. The b-side of 'Going Underground', named 'The Dreams Of Children', appeared after 'Going Underground' and made the first half of this album successful and enjoyable. The next few tracks were pop Jam, this can be heard on songs like 'Start!', 'The Bitterist Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)' and 'Beat Surrender'. 'Start!' was a magnificent song that contained a great bass-line, it started off the second half of this album really well. 'Funeral Pyre' was the next track after 'Start!', although it was another great rock song, it was involved in the pop half. Another song which threw the album off balance was 'The Bitterist Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)'. Although it reached no.2 in the UK charts, it was the poorest song on this album. There was hardly any guitar, bass or drums in it, just orchestral backing. The next track which was the last track was 'Beat Surrender'. The Jam's feelgood swansong ended the album extremely well. Despite two songs threw the album off balance, this album is everything an alternative British rocker would want at an affordable price as well. Any Jam fan will have this album. // 9

Lyrics: No wonder why the songs that feature on this album have either been released or it made up the b-side to a hit. Most of these songs have been composed by Paul Weller and how brilliant are those songs? Although Paul Weller would improve his song writing when going solo, his song writing for The Jam was phenomenal. The Jam had produced one of the finest song writers in the UK. Also, his singing skills were great as well, it suited his music well. Two songs on this album have been composed by the bassist Bruce Foxton. He wasn't a bad singer, well he was a backing singer for most of The Jam's hits, but it was song writing that wasn't great. Both songs on this album are Foxton's only great songs, they were 'News Of The World' and 'Smithers-Jones'. 'News Of The World' was the better of the two. Overall, the lyrics of this album are fantastic. // 10

Overall Impression: Although there would be a better 'SNAP!' album produced in the future, this album is a sensational album, their best album previously. The most impressive songs on this album, well all of them are impressive, apart from 'The Bitterist Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)'. But I would have to go for the four no.1 hits 'Going Underground', 'Start!', 'Town Called Malice' and 'Beat Surrender'. What I love about this album was that it was enjoyable to listen to. If it got stolen/lost, I would buy it again. // 10

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