Sound — 8
'The Sound Of The Jam' is basically a 'Best Of' album, but it also contains 'b' sides and unreleased songs that feature on another album named 'Extras'. This 49-track album contains two CDs, a DVD and a leaflet. However, there is a shorter version of this album, the shorter version contains only one CD. But I would recommend you to buy the bigger version. On disc one, the songs are in order of when The Jam turned from a punk band into a pop group. It also contains some 'b' sides and songs that have featured on their original albums, such as 'In The City' and 'The Gift'. On disc two, there are some more hits and unreleased songs. Although this album reached no.3 in the album charts, this is not what you would expect from a 'Best Of' album. The Jam have released 18 singles in their career, three of them are missing on this album. They are 'All Around The World', 'Just Who Is The 5 O' Clock Hero?' and 'The Bitterist Pill I Ever Had To Swallow' ('The Bitterist Pill' does appear on the DVD though). However, they have still made the album great, by mixing the hits with 'b' sides and unreleased songs. The opening track to disc one, 'In The City', was The Jam's first hit, what you would normally expect from a 'Best Of' album. 'In The City' is also a good track to begin with, because you hear the blazing guitar riff from Paul Weller (lead guitarist and vocalist), then more instruments gradually come in, making the opening track addictive to listen to. Half of that disc was mainly punk Jam, there are more blazing guitar riffs, trebly bass and machine-gun drums. This can be heard on songs like 'Away From The Numbers', 'The Modern World', 'It's Too Bad' and 'The Eton Rifles'. Meanwhilst, the other half of this disc was mainly pop/funk Jam, there are more orchestral backing, more acoustical songs, more ballads and more funkier music. This can be heard on songs like 'That's Entertainment', 'Tales From The Riverbank', 'Town Called Malice' and 'Beat Surrender'. There is a 'UK Only Bonus Track' on this disc named 'Boy About Town'. Although it appeared in the pop/funk half of this disc, this vibrant Mod anthem harked back to old school Jam, despite it was backed by a horn section. It featured on The Jam's fifth album 'Sound Affects'. The opening track to disc two, named 'The Dreams Of Children', was the 'b' side of The Jam's first no.1 single 'Going Underground' in 1980. Although The Jam just turned into a pop group in the 80's, both songs harked back to old school Jam as well, containing blazing guitar riffs. Tracks 2-6 were more releases by The Jam, in the order of when The Jam turned from a punk band into a pop group. The rest of the tracks are unreleased songs that feature on 'Extras' (apart from 'But I'm Different Now', that song featured in 'Sound Affects'). One of those unreleased songs was named 'Pop Art Poem', it was based around a poem and Paul Weller played all the instruments, varispeeded to create a weird effect. The other tracks were mainly pop, and some what strange. What certainly wasn't strange was The Style Council's 'A Solid Bond In Your Heart'. Funnily enough, one of those songs was a cover of James Brown's 'I Got You (I Feel Good)'! Even though disc one contained more exciting songs and guitar riffs, it was a clever idea to mix some more hits with unreleased songs on disc two.
Lyrics — 10
On disc one, we see Paul Weller change his voice style from a punk singer into a popstar. But really, Paul Weller could sing whatever the type of genre. Even though some of the unreleased songs on disc two were poor, that didn't stop Paul Weller from singing great. Most of The Jam's songs were backed by Bruce Foxton (bassist and backing singer), he wasn't bad at singing either, but it was his lyrics that were quite bad. However, one song on disc two named 'News Of The World' was sung by Bruce Foxton alone, and he even wrote the lyrics to it. It was one of the greatest songs Bruce Foxton has ever composed. But we remember Paul Weller as one of the greatest song writers in the UK.
Overall Impression — 8
There are other 'Best Of' albums by The Jam, if you want all of The Jam's hits without any unreleased songs, it would be a better idea to buy a different album named 'Snap!'. But if you want a Jam album that contains over twice as more tracks, buy this one. To my opinion, 'Snap! ' is a better album, but it doesn't make this one bad at all. What I love about this album is that there is a lot of tracks to listen to and a DVD, and listening to some quality 'b' sides for the first time. What I hate about this album was the poor quality of their unreleased songs, because it completely spoils the album. If this album got stolen/lost, I would buy 'Snap!' instead of this one, because clearly 'Snap!' is a better album. To end this review, 'The Sound Of The Jam' is a great 'Best Of' album that contains quality 'b' sides.