Sep 152011

Let’s try another 1-2 Punch, shall we? Top 10 lists are too much; Top 5 lists invite too many opportunities for throwing in a hipster, obscuro choice to distinguish oneself from the raging masses. What I’d like to know is what TWO (2) songs you would choose from an artist’s catalog to say as much about that artist that you believe represents said artist’s core as possible? In other words, if you could only use TWO (2) songs from an artist’s catalog to explain all that said artist is about to a Venusian, what TWO (2) songs would you pick to represent said artist’s place in rock ‘n roll?

I’ll pose two artists and you—love ’em or leave ’em—give me each artist’s representative 1-2 Punch. Dig? Here goes!

The Jam

David Bowie


  19 Responses to “1-2 Punch!”

  1. shawnkilroy

    In The City-i think is pretty typical for them.
    Town Called Malice-is actually very good and catchy and NOT typical of them.

    Space Oditty-slow dreamy and fantastic with low vocal on the left and hi vocal on the right.
    Queen Bitch-sassy, dancy and rockin with acoustic on the left and raw electric on the right.

  2. 2000 Man

    Bowie is a hard one for this, but you did say the artist’s core, so I’ll go with Width of a Circle, especially from Santa Monica 72, to show off how great The Spiders were, and Golden Years to show how he could make an interesting huge hit song that could be appreciated by Rock Snobs and happy-go-lucky Top 40 people just as well.

    For The Jam, I’ll start with Going Underground because it’s one of the greatest songs that ever happened, and A Bomb in Wardour Street from the album Live Jam because it’s jaw droppingly awesome.

  3. mockcarr

    I’d have That’s Entertainment instead of Town Called Malice, I think the latter song’s of the era where he was trying to turn the Jam into what the Style Council became. Two sides of the coin, hey, let’s go into town and protest, and we’ll ride a crappy bus home afterwards.

  4. Bowie: Ziggy Stardust for the rock and maybe Young Americans for the depth or Station to Station for the weirdness.

    The Jam: In the City. Then I would either play In The City again or go with My Ever Changing moods. Why, oh why, can’t they sound as cool as they look in their pictures?

  5. misterioso

    Tough ones.

    Jam: Going Underground and Absolute Beginners

    Bowie: Moonage Daydream and Heroes

  6. machinery

    The Jam: 1. Boy about town: captures the mod/young thing totally. 2. Down in the tube station: Captures their political side.

    Bowie: 1. Space oddity: captures his space obession. 2.) Fame, captures the ’75 Bowie glam thing perfectly.

  7. 2000 Man

    I almost went with Absolute Beginners, but I just love A Bomb.

  8. Heroes is the ultimate Bowie song for me — a slow burner that gets better with age.

  9. bostonhistorian

    The Jam: Town Called Malice, because they could write a great song on occasion, and English Rose, because far too often they sucked. The Jam has aged horribly.

  10. tonyola

    Good call on the Bowie songs. I was just going to suggest those two, but with “Life on Mars?” as a possible substitute for “Moonage”.

  11. I don’t really care about the Jam, so I’ll go super-obvious:
    That’s Entertainment
    Town Called Malice

    As for Bowie
    Ziggy Stardust — for the glam power chords
    “Heroes” – for the arty Eno-ness, and also for generally just being truly awesome

  12. ladymisskirroyale

    The Jam: Modern World (because they’re Mods, Mr. Mod)
    Bowie: Ch ch ch ch changes (because he’s the chameleon)

  13. I like your choice of a representative turd!

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    Agreed! I’m waiting to see if they get better by my late 50s.

  15. The Jam:

    In the Crowd & In the City


    Ziggy Stardust & Oh! You Pretty Things

  16. misterioso

    No offense, of course my love for you guys can hardly be expressed, but you’re all wet. Very little of the Jam’s work has aged badly–some of the dodgy production on The Gift, yes, for sure. The problem with “English Rose” or much of This is the Modern World or most of Foxton’s songs is not that they have aged horribly: it is that they are bad songs. There are bad songs scattered throughout their brief run, not surprising esp. when one considers how young Weller was and how much material they put out in a very short time. There are 117 tracks on the Jam box set, some are alternates or unreleased, so let’s say their output was 100 songs in about 5 years. Obviously I don’t have time at the moment to break them down into great, good, fair, terrible. But I think the core of that body of work–call it Snap! plus at least that much (I forget how many songs that means) in addition–is not only completely solid but also thoroughly tremendous and stands up brilliantly, and will continue to do so.

  17. jeangray

    The Jam have aged badly.

    I’m one of those scary people that prefer Weller’s solo work.

  18. bostonhistorian

    The enervated production of the first two albums makes them sound thin and dated, too many of the songs sound alike, and the drumming…god, the drumming. I just looked at the track list of Compact Snap and there are five or six songs I’d want. The rest? Meh. But hey, there are plenty of things I like that the rest of the world hates.

  19. BigSteve

    I have a LOT of experience with aging badly, and the Jam are right there with me. The fact that much of their work was over-rated form the start doesn’t help them in this regard.

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