Music Monday: London Calling by The Clash

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 21/250TheClashLondonCallingTitle: London Calling
Artist: The Clash
Year: 1979
Position: #8 (Previously: #9)

Since I am over 10% in it makes sense that I make a grab for an album in the top 10 for the very first time. I have tried a bit of most of the other albums in the top 10 so I thought I would go for London Calling.

The first thing that I noticed was the album cover. It helps that I have already looked over the Elvis Presley début album for this so I could notice that this was an homage. The contrast of Elvis’s joyful playing at the birth of rock ‘n roll with bassist Paul Simonon smashing his guitar speaks to how much music and its image has moved on in the 23 years between the albums.

Whilst I have never been a fan of punk music on the whole after a few listens to London Calling I think I may be persuaded to dive into the realm of post-punk proper; compared to post-punk revival acts such as Franz Ferdinand, The White Stripes and The Strokes who all also appear on this album list at some points.

At 19 songs long and at just over an hour long it does, to be honest, feel a little bit overstuffed on the first listen. On the third listen though it all seems to slot into place but by the time you reach ‘Death and Glory’ you do think the album is about to end and there are still seven tracks to go.

The best thing about this album is the sheer number of genres that is mixed in and that in many ways it is an album that could have easily been made more recently. I know I say that often but you have ‘classic’ albums that are very much of their time (aka anything by The Beatles) but this sounds like something that could have come out around ten years ago. Granted there are references which do date the album, such as the mention of Beatlemania in the title track, but it would also mean that I would have to redact any mentions of The Clash in Gilmore Girls as well as every artist that took inspiration from it… so I guess it should stay back in 1979.


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