Sunday Suggestion – The Jam – The Butterfly Collector

1979 was an important year for The Jam. After initially sparking much intrigue and excitement early in 1977 with In The City; the pressure to follow it up later that year had led to a lesser album with The Modern World which was countered brilliantly with All Mod Cons in 1978. 1979 would be the year that defined their careers. Put them in full view of the country and up to the upper echelons of the charts. The Butterfly Collector is a real stand alone tune amongst so many from them that year and it only existed as a B-Side to the single Strange Town. Upon hearing the slow and spikey opening riff; you could argue it was that sort of style that refined much of Nivarna’s music for example. This a full decade before anyone knew of them outside of Seattle. It sets a real dark tone that’s set against Weller’s echoed and undulated vocal for a slight haunting and uneasy effect. It takes on a more standard and built up structure in the chorus for a more sing-a-long quality, but this is used to great effect in putting the verses on a pedestal by smoothly fading back out into the darker depth of the song. This is highlighted upon understanding the vocals. It is said to be about a book called The Collector but in fact it was about Soo Catwoman who; after the self destruction of The Sex Pistols had went on to try and become part of their entourage and this was resented by Weller. He saw her as trying to collect fame from others and lacking any individuality as a result. She achieved a cult status nevertheless which is what might have prompted Weller to write it. There is certainly more than meets the eye with this B-Side and It might just open your mind to The Jam a little bit more.

Image from