Give 'Em Enough Rope review by The Clash

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  • Released: Nov 10, 1978
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.7 (27 votes)
The Clash: Give 'Em Enough Rope

Sound — 10
Released after their 1977 self-titled debut and before their massively successful 1979 epic "London Calling," 1978's "Give 'Em Enough Rope" holds true to be one of the greatest transition albums of all time. "The Clash" was a purely punk album, and quite painfully obviously punk, too (still not a bad album, though). "London Calling" was a diverse and unique era-spanning masterpiece. With "Give 'Em Enough Rope," The Clash retain their punk roots, but start to draw in more influence from more melodic genres. They take their style in a more positive and productive direction, and the album turns out to be one of the band's best. In true Clash fashion, the album delivers the goods, from start to finish, with not one bad track to spare.

Lyrics — 10
Lyrically, the album is tons more interesting than their grotesquely punk-ish debut (which is, once again, not a bad album, but by no means great), and I'd have to say as far as lyrics go this album ranks right up there with "London Calling." Whereas most punk bands of the era would sing about current events and make political stands, The Clash were not afraid to go way off subject and sing about the things that other bands normally would not sing about. For instance, most of the album has an incredibly cowboy Western theme to it. The cover art, along with many songs like "English Civil War," "Guns On The Roof," "Last Gang In Town," "Tommy Gun" and "Safe European Home" are supporting evidence that the album is somewhat themed, albeit unnecessarily and almost unimportant. Still, it's the lingering theme and overall feel of the album that no doubt only adds to its appeal.

Overall Impression — 10
On the whole, "Give 'Em Enough Rope" is a worthy addition to your music collection, especially if you're into most punk or classic rock music. The album does a great job at serving up an interesting blend of punk and rock, along with a classic and unique Clash edge to it. Hardly any album in the history of music can compare to "London Calling," but 1978's "Give 'Em Enough Rope" undoubtedly holds a deserving second place in all of The Clash's albums.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    their debut is better than this, but still not as good as london calling. combat rock was their worst record, dont ever buy it!!! Sandinista has got mixed reviews, but i like it. it should be the last clash record you should buy.
    combat rock is a decent album. cut the crap is their worst.
    I totally disagree, Stay Free is one of their best songs. This album is a lot better than Sandinista or Combat Rock.
    This album has nothing to with punk. Producer Sandy Pearlman (Blue Oyster Cult, for chrissake) made sure of that. It's a straight forward rock album, heavily over-produced and full of mediocre songs. It cannot compare to the Clash's first album, especially the original UK version. Songs like 'Stay Free', 'Julie's been working for the drug squad' and 'Last gang in town' are amongst the Clash's worst songs ever. It is no secret the Clash themselves rate this as their most difficult album. There was absolutely no chemistry between Bozo Pearlman and the band and that's all just too apparent when listening to this album. Having said all that, if you don't mind the Blue Oyster Cult production (echo on the drums, echo on the triple tracked guitars) there are a few gems on this record. Tommy Gun, English Civil War and Safe European Home are amongst the Clash's stronger songs. But 3 good tracks on one album is not enough to waste your money on, even if it is the Clash. If you have to buy all the Clash records, save your money for these releases. Yes, the order is in importance: 1. London Calling 2. The Clash 3. Sandinista 4. Super Black Market Clash 5. On Broadway 6. Combat Rock