London Calling review by The Clash

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1988
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (44 votes)
The Clash: London Calling
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Sound — 10
If the Sex Pistols were "N.W.A." of punk-rock music (producing several extremely influential singles, releasing one official LP as a full band and generally defining the genre for many people), The Clash certainly were "Public Enemy". Their profound musicianship, political and ethical stance and total dedication to what they've played gave everybody the idea, that punk is not a matter of looks and words; it's a state of mind and heart. For bands like Clash, there would never be enough acclaim, they'll never become overrated or old-fashioned. One can say, they were too smart for their own good. Probably, they were. "London Calling" was produced by Guy Stevens and recorded by Clash August to November 1979 in Wessex Studios in London. Stevens was able to create a recording atmosphere that every band member felt comfortable in. The final result was 19 tracks - "warm, angry, and thoughtful, confident, melodic, and hard-rocking" (R. Christgau), explosive mix of punk, reggae, ska, jazz, rock'n'roll and even pop melodies.

Lyrics — 8
Story of the Clash is a story of two extremely talented singers/songwriters in one band (no analogy intented), therefore some songs are more "Mick's", others more "Joe's". Mick Jones' songs are generally more metaphoric and introspective lyrically and softer musically ("Lost In The Supermarket", "Train In Vain", "The Card Cheat"). Joe Strummer's frantic and straightforward vocals combined with the pure rock'n'roll energy represent the edgier side of The Clash ("London Calling", "Clampdown", "Death Or Glory"). "The Guns Of Brixton" deserves special mention as it's one of few Clash songs written and sung by their bassist Paul Simonon.

Overall Impression — 10
It's hard to compare "London Calling" to some other record by some other band, cause it just does not sound like anything else heard before or after it, listening to this album is like riding a rollercoaster - thrilling, yet extremely exciting. There ain't really a filler on the record, "Revolution Rock" (one of three cover songs) might sound a little off, but that's really it. "If released tomorrow, [it] would still seem relevant and vibrant" (PopMatters), "London Calling" is a record worth owning, if you still don't have it - go and get it. Yeah, and one more: despite being double LP (on vinyl), "London Calling" at the time of release was actually sold for the price of single album, at the expense of the band of course. Is it punk enough for you?

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