Saturday, August 30, 2008

But surely your time will come, as in Heaven, as in Hell

I never could say that I was a punk rocker. Never. But something about The Clash was just too good. It was beyond punk rock. It's beyond anything, really. The Clash is almost a genre in itself. In grade school, I had a two disc set I got from BMG called The Story of the Clash. It was a great starter set to an artist. When I was younger, Greatest Hits were great ways to get into artists. I know now that albums are more important, but when you are 12 years old, you don't think that for older artists. You just want all the songs that you know and you want to listen to them non-stop. It wasn't until High School that I decided to get fully into The Clash and the first album of theirs I got was, as anyone would start with, London Calling. I bought it the same day that the Weezer Green Album came out, which of course was something I had been waiting for and was wholly disappointed in. I jumped straight to London Calling which I knew a decent amount of songs from already due to The Story of the Clash. Needless to say, it didn't take long for me to become completely addicted to that album with it taking over my sophomore year of high school as the most important record to date.

Something about The Clash really hits home for me. Every song on London Calling is great in it's own right. From the classic standards to the kooky tracks, it's got a flavor all it's own. Two LP's of phenomenal music. But something always struck me ass odd growing up and listening to The Clash. They are considered punk rock, but everything else out there that is punk rock isn't as good as this. This is more than just some punks slaying fast on the strings and screaming anger and disillusionment into the microphone. This mixed sounds from around the world into the punk formula and made it a far better genre of music. I never became a punk rocker like many youths do, but I listened to a shit ton of The Clash. Maybe that makes me a fake, but I feel more like a fan of anything that is purely rock.

"London Calling" is by far The Clash's best track, no matter what anyone says. It's ferocious, it's got a sweet ass bass line and it's probably the most punk rock song on the album. After that, we get a cover of "Brand New Cadillac" which is a sped up blues rocker. "Rudie Can't Fail" is ska brilliance and a fun song to dance to. The brooding of "Guns of Brixton" is among one of my favorite songs of all time. It's gloomy and dark and harrowing and an amazing song to listen to. Some of the more accessible songs like "Clampdown" and "Train in Vain" are radio friendly fun but still classic and singular in their variety compared to every other song on this album. I've always loved the pop, yet highly poetic "Spanish Bombs." It's hard to pick apart such a perfect album.

What The Clash had done to me as a youth was to give me yet another one of musics most important bands and give a different side of what rock and roll could be. Bands like The Clash are few and far between. Up to this point, they were just another British punk rock group. Then, inspired by whatever muses whispered into their ears, they came out with something totally different and awe inspiring without changing who The Clash was. I guess a lot of bands go through this, but being a music lover it's an amazing thing to see happen. I may not have been alive in 1980, but this music still makes me feel apart of that time somehow.

1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon
4. Weezer - Pinkerton
5. Brian Eno - Before & After Science
6. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
7. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
8. Grand Funk Railroad - Closer to Home
9. Foo Fighters - The Colour & The Shape
10. Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection
11. Interpol - Turn On the Bright Lights
12. King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
13. Jeff Buckley - Grace
14. Warren Zevon
15. Black Mountain - In The Future
16. XTC - Skylarking
17. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
18. Nick Drake - Pink Moon
19. Stone Temple Pilots - Purple
20. The Clash - London Calling

Up Next: Arcade Fire's Funeral

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