The Clash (US) Review

artist: The Clash date: 08/19/2008 category: compact discs
The Clash: The Clash (US)
Released: Oct 25, 1990
Genre: Rock
Styles: Punk Rock
Number Of Tracks: 15
It speaks volumes about the mid-'70s music scene that the Clash's explosive debut was viewed as too provincial and raw for U.S. consumption upon its original English release in 1977.
 Sound: 9.2
 Lyrics: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Overall rating:
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reviews (5) 4 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
The Clash (US) Reviewed by: bassplayer496, on august 19, 2008
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album has a great, raw punk sound, though not totally devoid of melody. For example, in the opening track, "Clash City Rockers," It starts out with a simple but powerful guitar riff and angry vocals, then goes into a surprisingly melodic chorus. That happens on hear a lot. They had better musicianship than any other punk band of the time (or ever after) and this is a prime example of how punk bands should be doing their music today. // 9

Lyrics: While they hadn't reached their peak lyrically yet, and more often than not you won't get a word of what they're saying anyway, the lyrics are really quite good. They range from talking about the government (Remote Control, Complete Control) Unemployment (Career Opportunities) and the band itself (Clash City Rockers) The lyrics are more than you'd expect from four punks who were nearly bankrupt at the time, and they would only get better. The vocalists are Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, Joe Strummer usually being the lead. While Mick Jones may be a technically better singer, I think Joe Strummer is better for the sound, and their voices match the songs they sing on perfectly. For example, Strummer is perfect for the raw force of Clash City Rockers or London's Burning, And Jone's is better for the more melodic "Hate and War." // 8

Overall Impression: While this doesn't have the diversity of their later albums, it has a raw energy that few punk albums have ever come close to comparing to. As far as The Clash's albums, this would rank second for me just after London Calling. While there are some miss tracks (What's my name) it's mostly consistent, and is a must for lovers of punk, and most lovers of rock in general would also appreciate this album I'm sure. // 9

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overall: 10
The Clash (US) Reviewed by: theoddmenout, on february 12, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of this album is the voice of a generation, born from the disatisfaction and disdainment of society. The Clash weren't the first punk band by any means, but in my opinion, they were the essential and most influential of the early (or any) punk bands. The raw energy of the Chainsaw guitars, Blitzkrieg drum beats, and Bouncing bass combine to form a truely unique and original sound. And unlike some of the other early punk bands such as the Ramones or Sex Pistols, the Clash were actually skilled musicians, with some great riffs and a varied sound. The Clash were also one of the first groups to combine reggae with a rock sound, as shown in the excellent "White Man In Hammersmith Palais" and the cover "Police And Theives." Every song on this album has a very unique sound; no skipping to singles required. // 10

Lyrics: Everyone loves a band because they love their sound or style, but in the Clash's case, I'm at a loss. The lyrics on this album are ingenious. Although arguably not their best (see London Calling and Decide For Your Self), Joe Strummer's incredible voice belt out some of the catchiest and meaningful lyrics anyone should be allowed to hear. There are infinite number of Clash-clones (see Rancid), but none have ever equalled the Clash on this level. Some might call them simplistic, but these lyrics are what inspired the street punk anthems that punks know today. Songs like "White Riot," "I'm So Bored with the USA" and "Career Opportunities" have choruses that beg to be yelled in unison. Joe Strummer is, in my opinion, one of music's greatest songwriters, and his first album (with the Clash at least) sets a bar that has not yeat been met in the punk scene. // 10

Overall Impression: What can I say? Maybe I'm biased because the Clash is my favorite band ever, and this is my first or second favorite album of all time, but this is album that no self-respecting punk fan or music lover should be without. Especially due to its historical context, this album was infinitely influencial. Since basically every song is amazing I can't choose some highlights, but one of my favorite songs ever is "Complete Control". The only song I don't thoroughly enjoy is "What's My Name?", but other than that, evert song is a classic. But don't listen to my rambling, grab an open mind, go out and buy this album, and decide for yourself! // 10

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overall: 8.3
The Clash (US) Reviewed by: **saintjimmy**, on october 23, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is a great CD for people new to punk. It's not too heavy but has that punk rock feel to it. I personally think it is the best album by The Clash. The first song on the album is "Clash City Rockers". It will make you hooked to the rest of the album. The guitar has a raw sound with a bit of overdrive and the bass is great is songs like "White Riot." // 9

Lyrics: The singer is just what you would expect from a punk band. The lyrics are mostly easy to make out. Some songs the lyrics could use some work and some are hard to make out. also in the inside cover there is no lyrics to look at. My favorite lyrics on the album is from clash city rockers, "An' I wanna liquefy everybody gone dry/Or plug into the aerials that poke up in the sky/Or burn down the suburbs with the half-closed eyes/You won't succeed unless you try." // 7

Overall Impression: It definatly compares to there other albums. I think it is better then the other actually. The key tracks are Clash City Rockers, White Riot, London's Burning, I Fought the Law (cover of Johnny Cash's I Fought The Law), Carreer Opportunities. I love that this album has a great sound and great songs. I also like that it is affordable because it is older. You can buy it for about $8.00. The only thing I don't like is that some songs seem to drag on but other then that it is great! I would recommened it to any one I know who likes punk even new punk bands like greenday because a lot of punk bands today have influences from the clash. It wouldn't get stolen or lost from me cause I would look after like crazy. // 9

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overall: 9.3
The Clash (US) Reviewed by: jfh78rpm, on february 22, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Clash were one of the first bands to grace the punk scene in London in the mid-70's and their debut album "The Clash" is up on top with some of the best punk albums ever. The sound of the album never changed throughout the whiole album and is raw and pure, no effects or any of that stuff, it is just vocals, guitar, bass and drums. The music is nothing complicated, quite simple with basic chords and no hard guitar work at all, making it really easy to listen to. Yet, even though it is simple, it still makes people get up and jump around. "The Clash [US]" is the band's first alubm but it is different from their debut as it includes singles that where never put on an album, which include, "Clash City Rockers", "White Man In Hammersmith Palais" and "I Fought The Law". Some tracks were left off the re-issue such as "Deny", "Cheat", "Protex Blue" and "48 Hours". On this album, there is two styles of music, punk, which is fast and hard hitting music, and also punk-reggae which is music that you can just groove to and float over when listening to it. Finally, although the sound is the same throughout the album, each song sounds different in their own way, which is why this album's sound is more distinct then all the other albums. // 9

Lyrics: Joe Strummer is viewed by many people as one of the great voices and writers of the punk era. Depsite his voice not being the best, he has his own unique style, which makes Joe a good singer. His voice is powerful and when he sings about anything, everbody beliefs him whatever he says. The lyrics on "The Clash" are sheer genius as they combine themselves with politics and tap into the listener's imagination. Joe's lyrics have a lot of political meaning, which meerly reflects the era of which they were written, like when everybody was out of work and the government was doing nothing to help the country. // 10

Overall Impression: Not many other albums match the brilliance of "The Clash" which has everyting in an ablum taht you could want. Me personally, I don't think The Clash ever matched this first album, they nearly did with "London Calling". The most impressive song on the album is "Police And Thieves" and maybe "I Fought The Law" but the other songs aren't close behind. I feel the only albums downfall is "Jail Guitar Doors" as it doesn't have the same feel as the other songs, for reasons unknown. What I love about this album is that it is just music, no fancy effect crap, just four guys playing their instruments, which makes the album more unqiue and original. If the album got lost or stolen, after getting over the depression that it was lost/stolen, I'd go out and get a new one becuas eit is worth the money. // 9

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overall: 9
The Clash (US) Reviewed by: Drifting182, on july 29, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Clash's first album was released in the UK in 1977, the year punk hit both sides of the Atlantic big. The album became one of the most imported albums of all time, leading CBS to release the album in America in 1979. The record company swapped out 4 of the weaker tracks ("Cheat," "Deny," "Protex Blue," and "48 Hours" for 5 non-album singles. Original drummer Terry Chimes sits behind the drum kit on the original album tracks; replacement Topper Headon drums on the singles. // 9

Lyrics: The US version starts off explosively with "Clash City Rockers." Based closely on the Who's "Can't Explain," riff, "Rockers" is arguably the closest to metal the Clash ever got. Bell effects and a fun piano groove appear in the second half of this 3-minute blaze. "I'm So Bored of the USA" cops a riff from the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant." Joe's famous lyrics deal with his annoyance with the permeation of American culture in 1970s Britain. It's not necessarily an anti-American song, but rather a call for Britain to take their identity back. Somewhat ironically, the 70s punk movement made legendary by British bands was itself an American import. "Remote Control" is a catchy tune. Mick Jones' soaring vocals trade off with Joe Strummer's gruff growl, making for an interesting contrast. The record company liked the song so much that they released it as a single without the band's permission, leading to follow-up single "Complete Control." "Complete Control" directly name-checks "Remote Control" and also tells of CBS Records' attempts to control the Clash's artistic (or political) agenda. Arguably, "Complete Control" is actually a better song. Though more uptempo than "Remote Control," the band had gotten more sophisticated in the song arrangement department, leading to a few cool touches. Joe's call of "C'mon guitar hero!" during the solo and the excellent bridge, which slowly builds up into the climatic coda. The band completely lets it all out during the coda. Joe spits out lines like "This is Joe Pubic speaking/I'm controlled in the body/And controlled in the mind" while Mick backs him up with a continual "C-O-N Control" vocal before breaking out into yet another brilliant solo. This is among the most overlooked songs in the Clash catalog. "White Riot" is a simple punker. Despite the title, this isn't a racist song. What the song lacks in sophistication, it more than makes up in pure unbridled energy. And that brings us to "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais." Arguably the greatest marriage of reggae and punk ever recorded, "White Man" tells the story of the lone punk attending a reggae concert. I have to admit I had to get over my aversion to reggae before I could truly enjoy this track, but it's easy to see why this is a fan favorite. The melody here is simple but unforgettable. As the song progresses, the song morphs into a criticism of punks in general with lines like "If Adolf Hitler flew in tonight/They'd send in a limousine anyway." Not one moment here, from the simple steel guitar break to the great harmonizing with Mick Jones feels wasted here. It's not hard to see why this was Joe's favorite Clash song, not to mention one of the few Clash classics he'd perform at almost every concert with his post-Clash band The Mescaleros. "London's Burning" is about one of the biggest plagues of '70s Britain, boredom. Our protagonist drives around town just to hit the yellow lights. Though I wouldn't say things have changed much since then with the eternal issue of boredom, it's not hard to see why so many youth were seduced by the punk movement. The classic Bobby Fuller Four cover "I Fought the Law" follows. A pop classic, I wouldn't say the Clash's rendition is any better or worse than the original. "Janie Jones" was the original opener for The Clash. The drums really drive this track, providing a chaotic backing for the start/stop guitar madness of Strummer and Jones' chainsaw buzz. "Career Opportunies" characterizes the 70s unemployment that hit Britain under the wave of Thatcherism. Someone once said that the punks played rock and roll simply because they were too "dumb and lazy" to get real jobs. A track with such witty inflections as "Career Opportunities" makes me doubt the validity in that. "What's My Name" is the sole track here co-written with original guitarist Keith Levene (who would go on to join John Lydon in Public Image Ltd.). There's a few decent ideas with the guitar licks here, but the song is the weakest yet. The Mick Jones sung "Hate & War" is another weaker number. Though he'd later develop into a great singer in his own right, he simply lacks the charisma of Strummer at this point. The cover of "Police and Thieves" is our second dose of reggae here. At a length of slightly over six minutes, it's the longest track on this album. Though the song is more straight-up reggae than "White Man," I don't find it dull. Though the lyrics and song structure are repetitive, the band manage to get a good groove going. Note Jones' falsetto backing vocals and Beatles-esque guitar solo. "Jail Guitar Doors" makes a half-hearted stab at new wave, and falls on it's face as a result. Closer "Garageland" is an autobiographical account of the garage band afraid to play out. Reportedly, the Clash refused to play live until receiving words of encouragement from the Ramones during their first UK tour. The song makes a great end to a classic punk album. // 9

Overall Impression: The singles substitued for some of the weak album cuts on the US version of The Clash make it a stronger, if somewhat less cohesive effort. Both the US and UK versions are now available. One wonders why Epic (the company that bought CBS) doesn't re-release the UK album with the US versions tacked on to the end. It would sure save this reviewer from the trouble of having to buy the UK album for 4 mediocre cuts. Hopefully this flaw will be corrected in the future. Until then, we'll just have to enjoy the great songs we have here. // 9

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