Sound — 9
'The Gift' was The Jam's sixth and last studio album of their five-year career, and it was The Jam's only #1 album. It's ringing Rickenbacker guitars and busy basslines were sufficiently rooted in the group's traditional sound to make it instantly accessible. However, The Jam could scarcely hide the fact that they'd become desperate to assimilate new influences such as funk, northern soul and even calypso. After the success of The Jam's fifth album 'Sound Affects' in 1980, the band decided that for the first time since signing to Polydor in 1977, there would be no new album the following year. Instead, they took a break and started to work on their new album 'The Gift'. The opening track was named 'Happy Together', it was pure Jam, with nervy guitar, snappy drums and inventive, trebly bass. The next track, 'Ghosts', was more calming, there was fragile guitar, minimal bass and drums. Suddenly, the next track named 'Precious' threw the album of balance, although it was the 'b' side of 'Town Called Malice', the only no.1 single on the album. It was funkier than anything else outside the Brit-funk core, and always seemed out of place. Elsewhere, Paul Weller's renewed passion for Northern Soul was burned into the grooves of 'Trans-Global Express' and 'Running On The Spot', both of which were little more than scorching socialist missives set to galloping beats. Another track named 'Carnation' was a sumptuous and poetic slow-burner, with a melancholic piano fade-out. There was also a Bruce Foxton (bassist) instrumental named 'Circus', a jolting cod-funk workout. The Motown-inspired 'Town Called Malice', which gave The Jam their third no.1, was set to the jumping beat of The Supremes' 'You Can't Hurry Love'. The last track of The Jam's last studio album was a barnstorming melee of Hammond frenzy and fierce guitars. It closed the album on an inspiringly upbeat note. After holidaying in Italy in July 1982, Paul Weller wanted to end The Jam. Unlike the majority of bands, they ended their career at the top, on a high, and with their credibility, forever intact. The Jam released two more singles, named 'The Bitterist Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)' and their last single 'Beat Surrender' which gave The Jam their fourth #1. There was a shortage of artists that have released their last single and making it to #1, The Jam was one of them. They also spent the most weeks in the UK charts in 1983 despite they quit. Paul Weller formed another band named The Style Council, Bruce Foxton went solo and Rick Buckler (drummer) formed another band named Time UK. After producing many singles with The Style Council, Paul Weller also went solo, in the '90s.
Lyrics — 10
Paul Weller's song writing was incredible, he improved magnificently since releasing 'Sound Affects', as well as his singing skills. The Jam produced one of the most successful songwriters in the UK. Even a decade later, when he went solo, he was still outstanding. Meanwhile, Bruce Foxton (bassist) was not as successful as Paul Weller, only one song on 'The Gift' was by him. But still I will give a 10 for the lyrics, because Paul Weller's song writing was phenomenal.
Overall Impression — 8
Although this album was The Jam's only #1 album, it is not my favourite album. Some of the songs featured on this album are strange. However, there are some extraordinary highlights in this album, in fact, there are five impressive songs, 'Happy Together', 'Ghosts', 'Carnation', 'Town Called Malice' and 'The Gift'. Of all the rhythmic experiments, 'Town Called Malice' was probably the most triumphant, though the award for the most splenetic song went to 'The Gift'. What I love about this album was that Paul Weller experimented with different types of music, however what let me down on this album was in the middle of it, the opening tracks were not bad, but when you come to track five, it makes you want to just flick through the tracks until you find a decent track. If this album got stolen/lost, I would buy it again. To end this review, 'The Gift' was the most funkiest album The Jam have produced.