The Gift (The Jam album)
|Studio album by|
|Released||12 March 1982|
|Recorded||October 1981 – February 1982|
|Studio||Air Studios, London; PolyGram Studios, London|
|Producer||Peter Wilson, the Jam|
|The Jam chronology|
|Singles from The Gift|
The Gift is the sixth and final studio album by English new wave/mod revival band the Jam. It was originally released on 12 March 1982 by Polydor as the follow-up to the Jam's critically and commercially successful 1980 album Sound Affects. The songs were largely recorded during 1981 to 1982, assisted by Peter Wilson, and is generally regarded as the culmination of the smoother sound of the band's later work. It was one of the band's most successful studio albums, reaching No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart.
A 2-disc deluxe edition of The Gift was released in 2012, to mark the 30th anniversary of the album's release.
Music and lyrics
The album moved away from the simple music of In the City and This Is the Modern World, and the more melodic All Mod Cons, Setting Sons and Sound Affects, to demonstrate Weller's love of northern soul. Funk bass lines and wah-wah guitar effects were often used throughout the album, along with jazz influences such as brass sections and saxophone solos (most notably on the track "Precious") and "Trans-Global Express" which was based on the Northern Soul funk hit "So Is The Sun" by World Column, lifting the chorus and rhythm line in their entirety from that song. Only two songs on the album exceed three and a half minutes.
The biggest hit of the album was "Town Called Malice". The song's title riffs on the novel "A Town Like Alice" whilst its lyrics lament disappearing aspects of stereotypical working class life in Margaret Thatcher's Britain. The message is not altogether negative though and the song stands as a potent rallying call to roll with the changes. One of the quintessential "state of the nation" songs in the band's catalogue it is still frequently performed by Weller in concert as a rousing finale to the set. "Just Who Is the 5 O'Clock Hero?", which was released as a 7" vinyl single in the Netherlands only, represents the efforts put in by 9-to-5 working men and women of Britain, who keep society running (and as such, are unsung heroes). Unlike the earlier song "Mr. Clean" from All Mod Cons, Weller does not mock the character, but rather praises him/her. However, the character from "Mr. Clean" represents a completely different strata of society, the executive/upper management types who would typically hound and otherwise make the character from "Just Who Is The 5 O'Clock Hero?"'s life difficult.
End of The Jam
Weller's experimentation with several new musical styles on The Gift contributed to a distancing between him and the Jam's other band members, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, who were uneasy with the move away from Rock/Mod Revival style. Weller himself was also discontented with contractual obligations and had begun feeling as if he were simply writing songs to order.
Nine months after the album's release, the band broke up, despite the LP reaching number one in the UK Album Chart upon release, during the band's 'Trans-Global Express Tour' to promote the album.
The front cover of The Gift depicts the members of the band standing upon the roof of a building close to Oxford Street. The posture of each individual is intended to replicate his being poised to run. Each member of the band had known the photographs would be separately tinted in the colours of red, amber, and green with the intention being to replicate the three stages of traffic lights.
The original release of the album was on 12" vinyl, and initial copies came with a paper bag stating "The Jam... A Gift". These copies are increasingly difficult to find, especially in good condition. Other issues included the regular vinyl issue, the Japanese vinyl issue (with a bonus lyric book), the CD issue, the re-mastered issue, and a recently issued Japanese version in a mini-LP style sleeve.
All songs by Paul Weller except where otherwise noted:
- "Happy Together" – 2:51
- "Ghosts" – 2:11
- "Precious" – 4:13
- "Just Who Is the 5 O'Clock Hero?" – 2:15
- "Trans-Global Express" – 3:59
- "Running on the Spot" – 3:06
- "Circus" (Bruce Foxton) – 2:11
- "The Planner's Dream Goes Wrong" – 2:19
- "Carnation" – 3:28
- "Town Called Malice" – 2:55
- "The Gift" – 3:08
2012 Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
Disc One additional tracks:
- "Precious" (12") – 5:54
- "The Great Depression" – 2:53
- "The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)" (12") – 3:33
- "Pity Poor Alfie" / "Fever" – 4:40
Disc Two: (tracks 7–15 previously unreleased)
- "Beat Surrender" – 3:27
- "Shopping" – 3:21
- "Move on Up" – 3:52
- "Stoned Out of My Mind" – 3:15
- "War" – 5:10
- "Pity Poor Alfie" (swing version) – 4:11
- "Skirt" (demo) – 2:45
- "Ghosts" (instrumental demo) – 2:35
- "Just Who is the 5 O'Clock Hero?" (demo) – 2:21
- "The Planner's Dream Goes Wrong" (demo) – 2:18
- "Carnation" (instrumental demo) – 1:33
- "Alfie" (demo 2) – 2:38
- "We've Only Started" (old version) – 2:35
- "Shopping" (aka Paul's Demo) – 3:22
- "Solid Bond in Your Heart" (demo) – 3:07
- The Jam
- Paul Weller – guitar, vocals, keyboards on "Town Called Malice", design, art direction
- Bruce Foxton – bass
- Rick Buckler – drums, percussion
- Pete Wilson – keyboards on "Trans-Global Express" and "The Gift"
- Keith Thomas - saxophone
- Steve Nichol – trumpet
- Russ Henderson - steel drums
- Chris Woodstra (12 March 1982). "The Gift – The Jam | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- "The Jam Album Reviews – The Gift". Thejam.org.uk. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- "CG: the jam". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- "The Jam – The Gift: Super Deluxe Edition". Uncut.co.uk. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 277. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Paul Weller Opens up About Anniversary Reissue of The Gift". NME. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
- Hellier, John (26 May 1999). "Paul Weller Interview with John Hellier". wappingwharf. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
- That's Entertainment: My Life in the Jam p. xi
- That's Entertainment: My Life in the Jam p. 154
- "UK Official Charts: The Gift". Official Charts Company. 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Billboard 200: The Jam". Billboard. 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.