Tribute album fails to honor The Jam
By GEOFFREY RAHIE
Scene Music Critic
The British invasion brought many bands to the forefront of modern popular culture. While the Beatles and the Who might be the most recognizable British forces to grace the earth, there were countless numbers of bands that have now been forgotten. The Jam was one of these bands.
A 70s British band that was inspired both by the poppy tunes of the Beatles and the Mod revolution set forth by the Who, The Jam's style ranged from slow blissful ballads to hard-rocking early punk numbers. "Fire and Skill: The Songs of The Jam" is a various artists' tribute album that sets out to capture The Jam's fiery style on one album.
It would be in order to first mention that tribute/compilation albums rarely work. While intentions to honor the band are always heartfelt, these types of albums lack continuity and purpose. The same rings true for this effort. It is just too hard to get into a CD when a band only has one shot to crank out a song. Once a song starts to gain momentum, the next track seems to disappoint.
A good example of this takes place on the second and third tracks of the disc. The Beastie Boys do a terrific funky almost-instrumental version of "Start!" Laid-back guitars and a Fender Rhodes keyboard captivate the spectacular groove. However, the next track, Reef's take on "That's Entertainment," greatly disappoints. The rest of the album seems to follow this sorry meandering pattern.
Sadly, the two brightest spots on the CD come courtesy of those naughty Oasis boys. Singer Liam Gallagher collaborates with Steve Cradock to produce a wonderfully serene song called "Carnation" that kicks the album off. Liam's voice seems to be less annoying than usual and shows great direction throughout the song. Fittingly, brother Noel closes the album by himself with the beautiful "To Be Someone." Noel proves that he can hold his own by singing heartfelt lyrics that just jump right out at you.
The biggest disappointment seems to be Ben Harper's try at "The Modern World." Harper's usually calm voice seems fake and forced on the track. It also lacks a sense of intensity that he is known best for.
Garbage proves once again that they are the most overrated act in the industry today. Their horrible rendition of "The Butterfly Collector" should not have even been considered for this album. Shirley Manson needs to find something she is good at because playing music is not her cup of tea.
As stated before it's very difficult to pull off a good tribute album. Big names are not always the formula for success, but it's nearly impossible to have one band do an entire tribute. That is just illogical. It seems to be a shame that a seasoned band like The Jam will be remembered in this light.
All Scene Stories for Tuesday, February 1, 2000