Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Clash London Calling 1979

London Calling is one of the greatest records of all time. Everybody says so. Me too.

There are many who would agree, and a few that would argue that The Clash made their best music before this one. They are the lovers of "real" punk, who believe this one to be a commercial sellout. Everyone's entitled to their own wrong opinion. A few folks might also argue for Sandanista! (the sprawling Clash version of the White Album) or Combat Rock (the real sellout), but these would be fringe choices.

London Calling maintains the intelligent anger and venom of their first two records while adding melody, first-rate arrangements, and skilled playing and singing. And songwriting of the highest caliber. And multiple musical styles. 

From the opening title track, a marching anthem if one ever was made, to the perfect swinging single Train In Vain, just about everything works. Which is pretty impressive given that the band incorporates ska, soul, funk, jazz and reggae in with the usual punk energy and sneer. The political lyrics and top rate songwriting make for compelling rock and roll. You can't trust politicians any more today than you could in 1980, so it maintains relevance.

Pull it back out. There is so much authentically rendered anger and frustration here. Like an eighties distillation and re-expansion on the theme of Eddie Cochran's Summertime Blues. All grown up and snotty still.

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