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London Calling - The Clash
London Calling - The Clash
Date: 17/02/01, updated on 17/02/01 (60 review reads)
Advantages: the clash
Disadvantages: no one makes albums like this any more.
THE CONTEXT: 1979. While in the US groups like The Dead Kennedys are ready to bring back what is rightfully theirs, in the UK Punk is holding out for its last huzzah...The Sex Pistols and The Damned already sucumbed to Punks self-destructive vein, and in a few years Billy Idol would make the transistion from Johnny Rotten wannabe to MOR bore...the world is threatened by The Village People and Debbie Gibson, and only Rocks primodial heroes, The Clash, could save it.
THE EFFECT: “London Calling” was widely accepted as the best album of 1979. “Rolling Stone”, funnily out of touch as ever, decided it was the best album of the 80īs (Yup. And “Sgt.Peppers Lonley Hearts Club Band” is the best album of the 70īs). Over all, this is considered one of the best Rock N Roll albums ever.
THE LYRICS: The Clash never gave out- the themes on “London Calling” may be more exotic, but theyīre as militant as they were in ī77. Sure, itīs disputable whetever highly-payed musicians like The Clash should be able to say anything at all on populism, comunism or any other isms. But we all know that only 1% of all humans are brave enough to fully commit themselves to their political ideials, and those are usually men who have no other choice. Mostly, Strummer and Jones were confused. But they tried...thatīs what really matters.
The apocalyptic Punk anthem that is the title track is deceiving: not much of the rest of the album is quite as pessimistic. “The Guns Of Brixton”, “Revolution Rock” and “Iīm Not Down” are very much revolutionary anthems. They also pull of great protest songs (the touching “Lost In The Supermarket”), soledade with criminal friends (“Jimmy Jazz”) and even preachy sermonising (“Wrong Em Boyo”...which starts as “Stagger Lee” by Lylod Price, which is itself a variation on the Blues standard “Stack O Lee”. After
that, The Clash decide that itīs wrong to cheat...a direct contrast to “Cheat”, from their debut album).
But The Clash are no poltically minded one trick pony like Rage Against The Machine... we also get bitter drug songs (“Hateful”) and equally bitter love songs (the cool as hell “Train In Vain”).
THE MUSIC: Is a complete dismissal of the notion that Punk bands couldnīt be sophisticated. Itīs a deadly cocktail of Punk, Latino, Reagae, good ol Rock N Roll and, as NME put it, “Bozo Jazz”. This sound is ragged and unrelenting...sometimes they pull it off in a grand fashion (“Spanish Bombs” still reminds me of Maria from “For Whom The Bell Tolls”), sometimes it breaks down like the unperfected monster that it is (but even those moments are fun!).
Oh, and while their cover of “Brand New Cadillac” is fair enough, itīs not half as good as the original (by whom? Gary Lewis & His Playboys, I think?).
ONE LAST THING: The Clash sang “phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust!”, not “the phony Beatles have bitten the dust!”. The diference is bigger than youīd think.