Every Clash Album, Ranked

Every Clash Album, Ranked

The only band that mattered.
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The Clash were, without question one of the best acts of the 20th century. They’re more widely regarded as a punk band, though; their new wave output, less recognized, deserves as much attention as “White Riot.” I ranked their albums, with this in mind.

6. Cut the Crap

I don’t have to explain this. It’s bad, objectively bad. Next album.

5. Give ‘Em Enough Rope

There’s a significant increase in quality from Cut the Crap to this. This is by no means a bad album - it’s just their most middle-of-the-road. Save for “Safe European Home,” one of their best pre-London Calling rockers, everything here suffers from normalcy. Normalcy is much better than mediocrity, though; it’s all worth listening to. “All the Young Punks (New Boots and Contracts)” remains a scathing indictment of punk-poseurs, and “Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad” is a great dry run of the strutting rockabilly sound that Joe Strummer loved so much (and would later perfect).

4. The Clash

Remember John Cusack’s protagonist from High Fidelity and all of his meticulously crafted music lists? He may have been a narcissistic asshole, yeah, but he had some good taste. His favorite track one, side one was the Clash’s “Janie Jones,” off their self-titled debut. Great choice - not only is it a straight-up two-minute British punk classic, it’s a perfect exemplar for the rest of the album and all of its shouty working class anthems of boredom and discontent. Joe Strummer’s love for straight-from-Kingston reggae and rocksteady also began here, with the laid-back take on legend Junior Murvin’s “Police and Thieves.” The US version is even better, with its inclusion of a generous handful of their best early singles; “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais” is a masterful blend of reggae and punk, and “Complete Control” is to 70’s punk what “Louie Louie” is to 60’s garage rock.

3. Combat Rock

I’ll be damned if this isn’t the most outright fun new wave record to come out of the early 80’s. After the polygenre adventure the group undertook with Sandinista!, they (thankfully) decided to continue down the path formed in the ground by the mutant disco of “Ivan Meets G.I. Joe” and the jangly, funk-tinged post-punk of “The Call Up.” The result was this, a much more slimmed down and focused effort than its predecessor, with an emphasis on danceable grooves and aural oddities. You’ve undoubtedly heard its two biggest hits before; “Should I Stay or Should I Go” has long been a staple of 80’s new wave radio (and has recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity to due its inclusion in Stranger Things). “Rock the Casbah” is arguably just as iconic; it’s damn near impossible to hear its chorus of “Sharif don’t like it / rockin’ the casbah, rock the casbah” and not belt it out along with Mick and Paul. There’s much to be found beyond these two singles, though - “Know Your Rights” is a zealous, acerbic 3-minute piece of anti-totalitarian satire, and “Red Angel Dragnet” is memorable for its spirited recitations of dialogue from Taxi Driver over an earworm bassline. Dig even deeper and you’ll hear beat poet Allen Ginsberg reading poetry.

2. Sandinista!

At almost two and a half hours with 36 (!) tracks, this record (or, rather, three records) is daunting, to say the least; best described as a beautiful mess. It's also very much unfairly maligned. Amid the genre experimentation of their American new wave contemporaries Blondie (who were playing with reggae on “The Tide is High” and with funk rap on “Rapture” the same year), the band decided to go out on a limb and toy around with everything - there’s gospel, rap, waltz, dub, calypso, country, musique concrète. It’s ridiculously indulgent, but I mean, they earned the right to be indulgent. Their approach of “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” obviously doesn’t always work (“Mensforth Hill,” “The Sound of Sinners,” most of the last two sides) but when it does, it’s wonderful; look at “The Call Up” and “Lightning Strikes (Not Once but Twice).”

1. London Calling

No surprises here - what were you expecting? I think everyone who clicked on this article knew what the bottom and top spots would be. This is the obvious, undebatable #1 for so many reasons. All of these reasons have been defined before, by countless people, for decades since its release, all singing its praises - I’m just another voice. First of all, don’t listen to anyone that calls this a punk album - it’s not. They left that behind after Give ‘Em Enough Rope. Much like Sandinista! (though admittedly to a lesser extent), this album can’t be pigeonholed into a single genre. Whereas Sandinista! was host to a number of stylistic failures, though, this album succeeds at every genre it tries. White reggae (admittedly a dubious niche genre thanks to the likes of culture vultures UB40 and Snow) has never sounded better than Paul Simonon’s brooding “The Guns of Brixton” and the jubilant cover of Danny Ray’s “Revolution Rock.”Their take on Vince Taylor’s (think Danny Zuko but slightly less caricatured) “Brand New Cadillac” gives new life to a tune that was already an established classic. Joe, Mick, and Paul sing of apocalypse, remnants of the Spanish Civil War, police violence, gambling, drug abuse - all lurid themes seemingly pulled right out of a pulp novel. It’s all counter to the upbeat, brassy production on every track - like the wailing sax and jaunty guitar upstrokes on “Wrong ‘Em Boyo,” a cheery song about the dangers of trying to pull a fast one on the wrong crowd at a poker table, or the handclaps-and-footstomps spirit of “Hateful,” a peppy tune about uninhibited addiction. It all works, all of it. There’s not a single misstep, not a single sour note, throughout the hour-plus record. It’s truly all killer, no filler - all 19 tracks.
Cover Image Credit: http://www.npr.org/artists/15394716/the-clash

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Things To Do When You're So Bored All You Want To Do Is Cry

Do something artsy

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Everyone has times when they have nothing to do and boredom strikes way too hard. From experience, I have found some top things to do when you literally have nothing else to do!

1. Clean

Not super fun, but will keep you busy.

2. Netflix

Find a new show to binge watch. Watched them all? Rewatch something you haven't seen in a while!

3. Shopping

Retail therapy can always keep you busy.

4. Make a home cooked meal

Spend some time in the kitchen and make something yummy! Even invite some friends.

5. Visit friends/ family

Pop in on some people you care about that you haven't seen in a while!

6. Write

Writing is something we all do and is a great way to express ourselves!

7. Exercise

Hit the gym or go for walk, do something to keep you nice and fit.

8. Volunteer

Go to an animal shelter, food bank, museums, or anywhere in your area that needs help.

9. Look for a job

If you're bored, maybe getting a part time job will keep you a little occupied. Plus it's extra money in your pocket.

10. Draw/ do something artsy

Even if you think you're a bad artist, drawing is something fun to do! You'll get better in time.

11. Join an Odyssey Team!

Writing articles through the Odyssey is an amazing experience and can always keep you busy!

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