All Mod Cons
Label: Polydor Records
This brilliant release uncovered Paul Weller as an ace songwriter and took the Jam from their ranking as a great punk band to a timeless rock group. There isn't a bum track, though classic status has gone to "Mr. Clean," "English Rose" and two completely different epics: "In a Crowd" and "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight." The former is an impressionistic psych-rocker that grows in power, while the latter is a narrative wonder that finds a Ray Davies-style everyman meeting with ugly English brutality. With this, the Clash were the Jam's only real competition as the greatest British band of the era.