TITLE: This Is the Modern World
YEAR RELEASED: 1977
CHART ACTION: #201 US, #22 UK
SINGLES: The Modern World (#36 UK).
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably only if you’re a fan or received a mix CD from me.
LINEUP: Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, Rick Buckler
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The second Jam album was a critical disappointment initially, but upon a re-listen it’s actually a pretty good record. It shows Weller and the Jam transitioning from snarling punk towards a more true mod sound.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After their first record, the Jam released a great single (All Around the World – added to the US release) and then soon after this album. The Modern World single seemed to put them in the same vein as their debut, and with a couple of less-than-stellar songs and some cuts that didn’t have the punk energy some wrote off this album.
It was a mistake. It’s not perfect and some of the songs aren’t that great. However, in listening for this project I had to do a re-assessment since I realized that a couple of my go-to Jam mix songs are ON this album. I was prepared to give it a C+ or something but about half of the cuts are top notch.
Even though the Jam were a relatively young band, they were transitioning on this album and that’s always a bit rough to some fans. But they really needed to move away from more of a punk towards a more nuanced sound as their music and ideas weren’t a great fit for that rigid of a genre.
NOTES & MINUTAE: After this album, Weller ran into a writer’s block. Foxton contributed the next single (the underrated News of the World) and it took a while for the group to gather the songs together for their next album.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. The various Jam singles and B-sides in this era are collected elsewhere.
GRADE: B: If they had time, I’d have put both the preceding and following single on the record and trim a few cuts. But it’s still better than I (and many) thought.