Sandinista! – The Clash (1980)

Sandinista! - The Clash (1980)

The common criticism of Sandinista! is that it would’ve been better pared down to a double or single album. The Clash’s best album is contained in here (check out Joe’s excellent rapping on The Magnificent Seven, or the breezy pop/protest song Washington Bullets – which turn the album’s title into something incredibly catchy) and even at its worst, it’s still really interesting. Most of the throwaway stuff is buried way deep on side 6, which consists largely of dub versions and remixes of earlier songs. Removing those weaker tracks may improve the overall quality, but then it wouldn’t be the same – the sprawl is part of the package! “I stand proud of it,” Joe Strummer once said of the album, “warts and all.”

Choice Cut: Police on My Back

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The Clash – The Clash (1977)

The Clash - The Clash (1977)

While the eclectic London Calling might be the band’s overall strongest release, even it can’t match this album’s immediacy and raw power. Every song here is a classic and define punk better than nothing but the Ramones’ debut album could. The band also deviates from the punk formula a lot here; the US version includes singles Clash City Rockers and Complete Control, which have decidedly multipart structures. Both of those and London’s Burning even feature very much anti-punk guitar solos. Good luck getting ANY of these songs out of your head after you’ve heard them once.

Choice Cut: (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
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