Thursday, June 7, 2007
No. 8: London Calling
Band: The Clash
Album: London Calling
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: It's probably the Clash's masterpiece and one of the best post-modern works ever, in my opinion. Totally referential, "London Calling" had elements of ska, rockabilly, straight up punk, and rock and roll. It showed the apex of Mick Jones' and Joe Strummer's songwriting talents. Politically charged, the boys take on crime, the Spanish Civil War, drug use and racial strife. This is punk rock at its best: Angry, smart and melodic. Entertainment Weekly named it the best rock album of all time and I'm not sure it isn't (non-Beatles category, of course).
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I'm not sure they have. The first Clash record is probably just as good as "Longon Calling," mostly because it has more of the undefinable "energy."
Best song: Oh, man. Take your pick. "The Guns of Brixton" is great, as is the title track. I'll go with the ska/reggae of "Rudie Can't Fail."
Worst song: "Lost in the Supermarket" isn't great
Is it awesome?: Absolutely.
As I've stated, I don't like blue collar rock. As well, I don't like a whole lot of punk rock and I find that political music usually falls short. The Clash go against both of all three principles because they made punk rock mature, blue collar rock cool and made smart political music. Take "London Calling" in comparison to Green Day's "American Idiot." It could be because I don't know a lot about late '70s British politics, but "London Calling" is much smarter than the moronic calling out of flyover states that is "Jesus of Suburbia." In the same way that "What's Going On" is political, "London Calling" is political. In the way that they're both brilliant.