21
Jul
07

The Jam “Setting Sons”

It’s 1979 and their fourth album– these guys must have been feeling like dinosaurs! The album cover is terrible– and it’s a bad sign when a band makes ironic use of military style stenciling and imagery– it’s an indication that they have run out of ideas, or maybe know that the sun is setting on their British and youthful take on youth and Britain.¬† The picture of what one must presume are the band members has them in military garb, and bronzed! Every indication is that the LAST album was the last one for The Jam.

But I guess this album cover, and the even worse inner sleeve, is screaming, “Forget about the art direction, listen to the music!” It’s surprisingly good– or maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s on par with the first three records, maybe getting a little too fancy at times, a little too poppy, but there are some really good songs. “Little Boy Soldiers” is interesting, and “Saturday’s Kids” is a great song. And there is a nice, high energy version of “Heat Wave.” (Normally I think a sped up, higher energy version of a well-known song is the wrong approach, but this one really seems to make sense.)

I’m not sure why I bought no more Jam records after this one, but at that time I was really anti-pop, and I was looking for the more hardcore, more USA-centric stuff, I guess. Though somehow I never owned a Black Flag record.

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