The Jam Collection is basically a purposeless compilation. Pulling a handful of album tracks from each of the group's records and throwing a few B-sides into the mix, it is neither a greatest hits nor rarities disc -- it simply spotlights some tracks you might have missed. While that approach may seem logical on the surface, it actually falls apart under any scrutiny. The Jam were one of the definitive single bands, as collections like Snap!, Greatest Hits, and the B-sides comp Extras proved. The Jam Collection ignores those single completely for tracks that usually work better in their original album context, no matter how terrific they are as a song. Furthermore, it appears that the compilers didn't consider their selections carefully. While some songs like "English Rose," "Liza Radley," and "The Butterfly Collector" are obvious selections, the inclusion of several songs seems arbitrary. There are certainly a number of fine songs on The Jam Collection, but dedicated fans will have everything on here (or they should purchase the original albums) and casual fans are better served by Snap!, Greatest Hits, or even All Mod Cons, Setting Sons, and Sound Affects. The Jam Collection, then, simply has no purpose.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine