10 Songs, 32 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As disciples of Ray Davies and Pete Townshend, it was inevitable that the Jam would eventually attempt a concept album. At 10 songs, Setting Sons is lean and somewhat underdeveloped, but the album still imparts an impressive sense of depth and to the band’s credit, the music is completely unpretentious. Despite the miniature suite contained in “Little Boy Soldiers” and the orchestral motions of Bruce Foxton’s lovely “Smithers-Jones,” the Jam stick to the punchy, bare bones delivery of their early days. The lyrical content, however, is almost as complex as a novel. A sequence of songs —“Thick As Thieves,” “Little Boy Soldiers,” “Wasteland,” and “Burning Sky”— follows a trio of tight-knit boyhood friends (alluded to in the cover art) who go off to war and eventually drift apart. This mini-narrative is bookended by several portraits of workaday life in Great Britain. From the class skirmishes of “Eton Rifles” to the elderly regret of “Private Hell” and the middle class stupor of “Saturday’s Kids,” Paul Weller shows his expertise in drawing profundity from everyday scenes. Rife with intelligence, nostalgia and a whip-smart vigor, Setting Sons is definitive Jam.

EDITORS’ NOTES

As disciples of Ray Davies and Pete Townshend, it was inevitable that the Jam would eventually attempt a concept album. At 10 songs, Setting Sons is lean and somewhat underdeveloped, but the album still imparts an impressive sense of depth and to the band’s credit, the music is completely unpretentious. Despite the miniature suite contained in “Little Boy Soldiers” and the orchestral motions of Bruce Foxton’s lovely “Smithers-Jones,” the Jam stick to the punchy, bare bones delivery of their early days. The lyrical content, however, is almost as complex as a novel. A sequence of songs —“Thick As Thieves,” “Little Boy Soldiers,” “Wasteland,” and “Burning Sky”— follows a trio of tight-knit boyhood friends (alluded to in the cover art) who go off to war and eventually drift apart. This mini-narrative is bookended by several portraits of workaday life in Great Britain. From the class skirmishes of “Eton Rifles” to the elderly regret of “Private Hell” and the middle class stupor of “Saturday’s Kids,” Paul Weller shows his expertise in drawing profundity from everyday scenes. Rife with intelligence, nostalgia and a whip-smart vigor, Setting Sons is definitive Jam.

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