To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Jam’s final studio album and to mark the 30th anniversary of the bands’ startling split, Universal will release a super-deluxe box set of The Gift on November 19, 2012. “I was very proud of it - I thought it was another advance on what we'd done before,” said Paul Weller this year.
Surprisingly this was the band’s only No. 1 album in the UK and marked the departure from the classic Jam sound to a more soul-influenced style, ushering in Weller’s ideas for the Style Council. The Gift includes the classic UK No. 1 single “Town Called Malice” plus other highlights “Running On The Spot” and “Carnation.”
The Gift, released in March 1982 was The Jam’s final studio album, in which Weller strove to bring as close to perfection as was humanly possible. Plenty of its songs number among The Jam’s best. It is also a fascinating glimpse of its time: of musical currents that were swirling around London and beyond. The Gift’s energy was not just focused on the state of society: it had a lot to say about where music was going, what had happened to the righteous fires lit by punk, and how to remain relevant and vital when music was taking some very wrong turns indeed. The challenge it answered was simple enough: if blaring guitars and rock poses had run out of road, what could embody the kind of passion that The Jam were all about? The answer lay in the soul music that had bled into their collective identity from the start, and a push to make it less of an influence, than a key part of who they were.
Looking back, some of The Jam’s associates have speculated about what lay behind Weller’s frantic drive to put everything he could into The Gift: increasingly of the belief that the group should break-up, Weller was simply trying ensure that their last album should be their best.
Since the breakup of The Jam, Paul Weller’s career has thrived and evolved. From his days fronting The Style Council to this year’s critically acclaimed new solo album Sonik Kicks, the reissue of The Gift can almost be viewed as the jumping off point for Weller’s long and illustrious career.