This Is the Modern World/All Mod Cons
The over-30 set will remember The Jam as the band that brought Mod consciousness to punk rock before sliding into R&B revivalism and then fading out altogether in the early 1980s. The band’s earliest three albums remain the best summation of its contribution to the world of late-1970s rock ‘n’ roll; the first album, In the City, is probably the one to own if you must choose only one, but the second and third (presented here on a single CD with two bonus B-sides) are also very worthwhile. The songs vary from aggressive post-punk shout-alongs to tender musings on love and loss, but everything is blessed with that raw, slightly bloody edge that would later soften significantly. The Jam was never the most melodically compelling band on vinyl, but there’s something about these two albums that grabs you by the scruff of the neck nonetheless.