From being at the crest of the New Wave to anticipating the swing revival by over a decade, Joe Jackson's always been a "step" ahead of the pop music world, and this 38-track collection includes all the key tracks from his A&M releases (plus four post-A&M tracks) with 24-bit remastering and detailed liner notes derived from an interview with the man himself! Includes Is She Really Going Out with Him?; Sunday Papers; Steppin' Out; Breaking Us in Two; You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want); Happy Ending; Look Sharp!; It's Different for Girls; Fools in Love; Be My Number Two; Right and Wrong, and more.
The two-CD Steppin' Out
trawls the recorded career of an ambitious artist whose work has ranged from reggae-inflected new wave to classical crossover. Cosmopolitan even at his most punky, former Royal Academy of Music student Joe Jackson found his greatest success with Night and Day
, a blend of pop and Latin flavors that produced highly memorable tracks such as this retrospective's title song, "Another World," and "Breaking Us in Two." That very sophistication, however, has often proven the downfall of some Jackson discs and ultimately blurred his musical identity beyond the focus that, say, Elvis Costello
has maintained through many stylistic shifts. Even powerful early music--such as several cuts from 1980's dub-wise Beat Crazy
--is marred by sledgehammer irony, while excerpts from later albums are anything from tastefully bland to downright irritating. --Rickey Wright