The Jam: “The Modern World”

Posted: June 15, 2016 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
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Tune du Jour: “The Modern World” – The Jam
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Ben Harper vs. IANSANITY vs. Less Than Jake
Broc 3 - Cover Me Impressed

Everybody’s Dressin’ Funny … Cover Me Impressed!

The Original


The Jam:


THE CLASH of Cover Tunes


Ben Harper vs. IANSANITY vs. Less Than Jake
Ben Harper:


Less Than Jake:


Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. It is your solemn responsibility to decide which cover song prevails. In other words … Which Side Are You On?!!? 


Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. Cuspid says:

    This was the first Jam song I ever heard. My high school buddy Steve bought the import of the This Is The Modern World LP back in ’78. Paul Weller was 20 year old. Whew.

    I have no idea who Ian is. But his acoustic cover is extremely well done. Using a 12-string is a nice touch. While he’s not exactly Richard Thompson when it comes to acoustic guitar virtuosity, I was nevertheless very impressed with how he handled this song. This comes in opposition to Ben Harper, who has never impressed me one bit. I can’t recall ever hearing a song he’s sung that I liked. And this cover does nothing to change that. LTJ does a very good job, ska-punk being one of my favorite music styles, as I explained yesterday. They have several songs that I like, and also get extra credit for being Gators.

    It’s close. But I’m going with IANSANITY.

  2. RDubbs says:

    Despite the brilliance of this modern day anthem, sadly and surprisingly, there is a dearth of quality covers of The Modern World.

    Put simply I do not like Ben Harper’s rendition. His voice just does not fit the angst and urgency inherent to the song. Well below average. Again, speaks to the mind-boggling lack of covers of this gem.

    IANSANITY, hands down, walks away with the coveted Jack Black Award for the Essentiality of Enthusiasm and Facial Expression in the Music (as well as Modern) World. Excellent cover my friend! Looks like the type of guy I’d love to spend an evening with popping pints and waxing poetic.

    Less Than Jake has certainly shone better in other covers. Even still they knocked out a spirited, respectable version.

    With IANSANITY very close behind, Less Than Jake wins by a rat hair. In other news, IANSANITY doesn’t give two fucks about my review 😦

  3. Kerry Black says:

    Love the original, but underwhelmed by the covers, especially Ben Harper. Wish I could vote for The Jam.

  4. Arnold Plotnick says:

    Hmmm… this CMI didn’t end up in my e-mail yesterday, but thankfully I saw it at the bottom of today’s version, so I clicked the back button. Like Doug, this was the first Jam song I ever heard, and that was it. I was hooked. All the anger and force and guts you could ever want in a song. The first version I heard was the “I don’t give a damn” version. It was years later when I heard the “I don’t give two fucks” version, which is the version Richie presents here. Frankly, as a purist, I prefer the “damn” version, although admittedly it’s trivial. Anyway… I agree, Ben Harper’s version is totally underwhelming. Iansanity does a great version, indeed. But Less Than Jake wins by a rodent hair.

    On March 31st, 1978, I saw The Jam play CBGB’s Second Avenue Theater. They opened with The Modern World, played their entire catalog, pretty much, and then closed with The Modern World again. ’twas amazing.

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