Archive for December, 2006

19
Dec
06

The Clash “Sandinista!”

1980 feels like the end of the world to me, and this feels like a post-Clash album. A lot of it is nearly unlistenable, sloppy noodling, but I would never get rid of this record, and every so often I listen to it all the way through, all six sides! My favorite way to think about it is: my friend Elissa said she thought there should be a tribute band called Sandinista! who just play the songs on this record. I imagine them playing it in order, maybe taking a break after every 12 songs, playing a regular night somewhere, doing the same songs in the same order week after week. I’d go every week! I’m sure a lot of other people would, too.

The song “Lose This Skin” struck me in an odd way—I think I heard it recently somewhere but I’m not sure where, like in a movie soundtrack. But I don’t know where. A few other really good songs: “The Leader,” “Kingston Advice,” and “The Street Parade.”

19
Dec
06

The Clash “London Calling”

From 1979, this is The Clash’s third terminal album in a row. This one REALLY feels like the end! It’s an irresistible record because they sound like they’re having so much fun that you feel like you’re in the band! But for the most part, it’s pretty soft, bordering on mushy. They’re too much in love—with their music, music they like, the USA, drugs, maybe, themselves maybe (Mick Jones), with dancing, with women. I guess you can hardly blame them, they were such a hot band at this point. A lot of people put this record in their top ten of all time. Whenever I think of it, partly due to nostalgia, I guess, I always have a warm feeling about it, and I think it’s my favorite Clash record. But then I actually listen to it and realize it’s my least favorite (of the first three). There’s not a single enduring song.

13
Dec
06

The Clash “Give ’em Enough Rope”

This came out in 1978, before the US version of their first album, but this one REALLY sounds like it’s all over. There’s a real world-weariness to it. But it’s also, strangely, the BEST Clash album. Anyway, the title no doubt refers to them, already aware of their mortality as a band, accelerated due to all of the attention and accolades and proclamations of “best band in the world” and all that. The “enough rope” is drugs, cuteness, and permission to turn into a reggae band.

Anyway, I really loved this record, and it still has a nostalgic appeal because I used to start out weekends popping open the first beer along with the beginning of “Safe European Home.” You put this record on and before you can take a breath it’s over. Not bad.

13
Dec
06

The Clash

I haven’t been able to listen to The Clash in like 20 years, and at ONE TIME they were just about my favorite band! So this is interesting, listening to these records, trying to figure out what happened. I have TWO COPIES of their first LP, why? Oh, one is an English import, it came out in 1977, while the US version didn’t come out until ’79. The covers are almost identical, but the song order is completely different, and there are several songs unique to each record—these are some of the best songs on either record, too: “Deny”, “Cheat”, “Protex Blue”, “Clash City Rockers”, “Complete Control”, “White Man in Hammersmith Palais”, “Jail Guitar Doors”, and “I Fought the Law”. That explains why I have both records.

Otherwise, among the best songs here is “Hate & War.” Among the worst (which I STILL can’t listen to) “Police & Thieves.”

In a way, this record (either of them) seems like the end of The Clash’s career, at least if you’re thinking about The Clash as a really good punk band from England. This is it.

07
Dec
06

Cheap Trick “In Color…”

“and in Black and White” (also 1977) They made a mistake– the cute guys on the Harleys should have been in black and white and the nerdy guys on the mopeds in color. It’s PAINFUL to look at BOTH the cute guys being cute AND the nerdy guys being nerdy, which is interesting. It’s just painful. And it’s even MORE painful to look at the album fold-out where they are ALL trying to be cute.

I remember reading an article about these guys where they had stories about each being from some exotic locale, when in fact they were all from the asshole of the Midwest, northern Illinois. You can actually listen to this album, except for “I want you to want me”– which makes me glad I used my “At Bukokan” for skeet shooting. “Downed” holds up pretty well.

07
Dec
06

Cheap Trick

The fact that they named their band “Cheap Trick” leads you to believe that they were well aware that the gimmick of the two cute guys and two nerdy guys is fresh for about 45 minutes– or one album, if you’re lucky. That they kept it up after this record (from 1977) is a good illustration that there is no greater curse than success. But then, they are playing this New Year’s in Hawaii, while I’ll be scraping puke out of toilet stalls at the Sizzler in Cudahy, so I guess the joke’s on me.

I can’t listen to much of this anymore, but I still like “He’s a Whore” and “Taxman” (not the Beatles’ Taxman, this one’s better). There is a side “A” and a side “1”– I bet they were the only band to use THAT joke. Which is lost on a CD release, as of course is the charm of the two sides of albums. I don’t need to go on about THAT.

07
Dec
06

The Cars

This is the first Cars album from 1978. It sounded fresh then, and parts of it still sound interesting, but there is something about this record that bothers me. I don’t know what it is– I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like they knew too much exactly what they were doing. There is no element of chance.




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