The Clash - Sandinsta!
"As soon as they'd get the rough mix down, we'd be like, 'Fresh tape on the reel. Let's get the mikes out, cos we're gonna go like this and this and this'. And we'd just keep doing that day and night. And that's why it had to be a triple album. Even though it would have been better as a double album or a single album or as an EP. Who knows? The fact is we recorded all that music in one spot at one moment. And in one-week blast, for better or for worse. That's the document" -Joe Strummer
It's easy to call The Clash's fourth album, Sandinista!, an overly ambitious mess with no direction that should have been a single album, but when people say that, you know they didn't look deep enough. Because, if you did reach far into this record, you would realize that this so called experimental mess is a fine album, one that contains some of The Clash's best. From the unpredictable rap, "The Magnificent Seven", that opens the album to the strange, yet wonderful closer that is "Shepherds Delight", you will find that The Clash did something phenomenal here. And another great thing about this album is that you can go through and find something you love yet someone else might not. For example, I like "Shepherds Delight", but I'm sure there's not a lot of people out there that feel the same way as me. The album is also good for certain occasions. Every emotion you can think of is on this album.
But I'm not going to lie to you and say that this album is perfect. Between these great songs are some undeniably bad songs. Let me just say off the bat that this album holds my least favorite Clash song, "Lose This Skin". I used to use it as an excuse that I would never like country music. And "Career Opportunities", though, uh... interesting (a choir of kids sing it), it's easy to ignore it. What saddens me the most though is that some of The Clash's best work will never be heard because they are not on The Clash compilations and people won't buy the album because they're told it's garbage. Let's take "Something About England" for example. This song is one of the best off the whole album, yet a lot of fans never even heard it. Joe takes the role of a man who's life is full of misery and change and how he was shunned by society. He fought in wars but he wasn't one of English's esteemed gentleman so he sleeps on the streets. This song is also an example of the incredible lyrics on the album. Never have The Clash been so politically charged. "Police On My Back", "The Call Up", "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe", and "Washington Bullets" all show off The Clash's abilities to pen lyrical masterpieces.
Overall, this is a painfully underrated album. Though it's 36 track onslaught that traverses a mind-blowing number of musical landscapes is at first, overwhelming, if one takes the time to delve into these tracks, they will find some outstanding music. The Clash took every style of music, popular or not, and added their signature political fury to create a grand record. It contains some of the bands best works including the instantly lovable "Washington Bullets" and my favorite Clash track, the atmospheric tale "Somebody Got Murdered". There are few albums this daring and ambitious. Though it can be a frustrating and intimidating listen at first, people who stick around to hear what The Clash say will be greatly rewarded.
"I can only say that I'm proud of it... warts and all, as they say. It's a magnificent thing and I wouldn't change it, even if I could. And that's after some soul searching... Just from the fact that it was all thrown down in one go. It's outrageous. And then release like that, it's doubly outrageous, it's triply outrageous." -Joe Strummer
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on 2007-11-05 Honey Dont Said:
If London Calling is my first favourite and The Clash is my second favourite, then Sandinista! comes in third. At first I found it to be the most difficult of all Clash albums to listen to and I probabaly have only listened to it in its entirety 2 or 3 times. Once I waded through it all I discovered song after song that I just fell in love with. Rebel Waltz, Crooked Beat, Charlie Don't Surf, One More Time, Kingston Advice. Not to mention the obvious favourites, Police On My Back, Mag 7, Radio Clash. I even found an appreciation for the messier tracks like Silicone on Sapphire and Mensforth Hill. I gave this album a 10 for giving me something new to listen to every time I turn it on and literally surprising me with a quirk I never noticed before. "Triply outrageous" is right, Joe!