The Gift was to be the final Studio album cut by The Jam, and it simply showcases how Weller ambitions had massively outgrown the band. In places it sounds like a Style Council record that has Foxton and Buckler looking over their shoulders and glancing at the spots their musical ideas where when they began. Because they had little to contribute by this point. It is not necessarily their fault – Weller has come up with some textures and grooves that are totally un-Jam like, in the same way that Pete Townshend brought along influences for the recording of The Who’s “Who Are You” that left many band members (especially Keith Moon) stranded. When that happens, a band takes its last bows and walks offstage.
These style excursions that do not work include “The Planner’s Dreams Go Wrong” and “Circus”, while “Running On The Spot” has potential that is never realized. Still, some compositions do work out to a lesser or bigger extent – “Precious” is quite effective, and the monster hit “Town Called Malice” gave everybody high hopes for the album (it was released some time ahead of the record, coupled with “Precious”). For its part, the soulful title track falls somewhere in the middle. Continue reading