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Friday, July 17, 2009

29 in 2009 - The Clash: "London Calling"

The Clash: London Calling
Originally Released: December 14, 1979
Genres: Punk, Rock, Ska
Rating: 7 out of 10

I've been listening to London Calling for over a month now, but with nothing really concrete or interesting to say about it, I've been holding off on this post for some time. Since I started the 29 in 2009 series at the beginning of the year, this has happened time and time again; where I just don't feel like writing about an album. However, it dawned on me this morning that the 29 in 2009 series was never about the words I wrote, it's about the music I'm listening to. My words don't have to be this grand review if I don't want them to be. So with that in mind, I give you my thoughts on London Calling, a very very good record!

For some reason, when I thought about The Clash I always sort of equated them with The Ramones, Iggy and the Stooges, or the Sex Pistols; this really raw, mostly-talentless, sound that punk rock has always been remembered as. While that may be true for some of their earlier albums that I'm unfamiliar with, that's certainly not the case with London Calling. Sure, Mick Jones has his moments where he's barking out lyrics (like on the title track - the album's best), but the music that accompanies it strays far from the simplistic repetitive nature of their contemporaries.

So oddly enough, I found myself liking London Calling quite a bit, which isn't what I was expecting. The songs on it are incredibly varied in style; from reggae and punk, to rock and pop. There are some songs that don't work for me and are guaranteed skips ("Brand New Cadillac" comes to mind), but for the most part I found the album to be quite short doses. Another reason that it's taken me so long to write this is because, for the most part, I have never been in the mood to listen to this album. It's style doesn't really fit with me right now. A few months down the road, though...who knows?

What should be made abundantly clear, however, is that this album is definitely to be considered a classic, not only for the greatness of some of its songs, but for its ability to set itself apart from the other punk bands of its time. It must be viewed as an essential listen for anyone interested in the genre because it took something that developed in crappy bars and scenes and made it mainstream. Sure, by the time "Rock the Casbah" came around, they may have taken it a bit too far. But London Calling represents a band at the top of their game at the right moment in time. You simply have to become acquainted with it!

Verdict: Classic

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