Now, let us talk some music history. As you probably already know from my introductory post to this blog series, I not only like alternative and indie rock but also the wild, chaotic and rebellious punk music. I hope that everyone listening to punk knows this band that actually marked with this album the origins of the British Punk in the late 70s. I am talking about the punk band The Clash.
- Release: April 1977
- 1. Janie Jones
- 2. Remote Control
- 3. I’m So Bored with The USA
- 4. White Riot
- 5. Hate & War
- 6. What’s My Name?
- 7. Deny
- 8. London’s Burning
- 9. Career Opportunities
- 10. Cheat
- 11. Protex Blue
- 12. Police & Thieves
- 13. 48 Hours
- 14. Garageland
You have to be aware that 70s punk differs a lot from the 80s, 90s or today’s punk. Characteristic for this British punk from the late 70s is that it often includes some ska, reggae elements which lend even a bit a jolly vibe although the lyrics stay quite aggressive. One can obviously not generalise this statement, but it is applicable for several British punk bands like the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks (yes this is their official name and they are an amazing band as well). However, back to The Clash. Founded in the year 1976 they released only a year later their first debut album named The Clash.
Typical for the punk genre are the rather short songs, but an album filled with many tracks and, therefore, I will limit myself just on a few songs.
Their debut album starts with the catchy song called Janie Jones which also represents this genre very well – fast, quick drums, thuggish lyrics and not clear vocals. The unclear vocals which are a combination of shouting, mumbling and not pronouncing the words clearly are typical for punk. And yes, I promise you, one gets used to it quite fast 😉
The second song is unlike the typical punk song, quite melodious and great for singing along. Remote Control is probably a great song to get your ears used to punk music and with its 3 minutes, it belongs to the longer tracks. The back vocals lend this song even a pop music touch, but the bass and drum beats will ensure that it will stay in the punk genre, especially the guitar solo in the second half of the song.
White Riot is a track which represents punk very well as it is energetic, wild and a bit laddish. Also, the very abrupt end is typical for this genre. If you enjoy listening to this song you are definitely into punk music.
Probably the best-known song from their debut album is London’s Burning. However, I am not particularly the biggest fan of this song because the vocals are hard to understand at times and the guitar is too dominant for my taste.
The by far the longest track on this album Police & Thieves is a complete contrast to the rest of the album. This extremely slow title (at least slow for punk) is combined with reggae tunes which make the song quite laid back. Through the entire song, they stick to the somehow lazy beat. If one listens to the lyrics carefully one realises that the lyrics are very repetitive and although the song is long the lyrics stay most of the times the same and there is not a clear pattern of verse and chorus, it is more like starting with the chorus followed by only one single verse and ending the song with repeating the chorus with some slightly adaptions.
Their debut is probably their rawest one and it is their most straightforward punk record. It’s loud, rough, aggressive and energetic and symbolises the very beginning of the British punk.
My rating: 8/10