- 9:24 am - Tue, Aug 14, 2012
- 4 notes
Q: The Clash?
I feel like I should be ashamed to admit that I only have a limited knowledge of The Clash. I own London Calling and a few odd tracks. They played down the road from me when I was a teenager and I didn’t even think of going. What I knew of them was based on rather earnest interviews and features on TV in the NME and having heard ‘White Riot’. As a rather weedy middle-class boy they sounded like a bunch of shouty yobs. Since then I’ve come to realise that this isn’t entirely true although I still don’t care for Joe Strummer’s voice.
SO, based on my limited knowledge:
Lost in the Supermarket: I prefer Mick Jones’ voice and I like the tension between the robust rhythms and the vulnerability of the lyrics and the shimmering guitars
London Calling: The Clash were saved by Dub, in my opinion. It took them away from strumming simple three chord thrashes and created space in their sound. That’s what I hear in this song anyway, which opens up their more rockist tendencies to allow more syncopation. Strummer’s vocal is more like a reggae toast which better suits his limited range and allows him to reveal a sense of humour.
Rock the Casbah: I have a soft spot for songs which sound like they might fall apart as they rattle along and this fits that category for me. Again, this reveals a sense of humour in both lyric and vocal and Topper Headon’s piano adds to the energy of the performance.
Train in Vain: I first heard this sung by Kirsty McColl in the early ’90s and I think her seal of approval was one reason why I decided to re-investigate The Clash. As sung by Mick Jones, it has a fresh, sketchy quality like a demo which suits the sentiment of the song in a way that a more dense production would crush.