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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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13 Taylor Swift Lyrics About Love

“We could get married. Have 10 kids and teach em how to dream."

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Taylor Swift is the only reason I've gotten through every love, and every break-up. Here's a list of 13 lyrics/quotes about love from Taylor Swift's albums.

“Losing him was blue like I’ve never known. Missing him was dark grey all alone. Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met. Loving him was red.”

"Red" from the album "Red." This song perfectly describes every feeling that radiates through your entire being when you love and then lose someone.

“I wish we could go back, and remember what we were fighting for. I wish you knew that, I miss you too much to be mad anymore. I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good. I wish you would.”

"I Wish You Would" from 1989. Sometimes I wish it was acceptable to just blast Taylor Swift during an argument because I totally would.

“You learn my secrets and you figure out why I’m guarded. You say we’ll never make my parents mistake.”

"Mine" from Speak Now. Let's surpass everyone's expectations.

“My baby’s fly like a jet stream, high above the whole scene, loves me like I’m brand new.” 

"Call It What You Want To" from the Reputation album. Once in a lifetime, there's someone who looks at your scars and calls you strong and brave, instead of damaged.

“My mother accused me of losing my mind, but I swore I was fine.” 

"Dear John" from Speak now. Love makes you do crazy things.

“One night he wakes, strange look on his face. Pauses then says ‘you’re my best friend’. And you knew what it was. He is in love.” 

"You Are In Love" from the 1989 album. Swift gives me chills with this song. Every time you think you're in love, you realize that the last time wasn't even close. True love, happens once or twice, and not for everyone.

“You pull my chair out, and help me in. And you don’t know how nice that is, but I do. And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid. I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny cause, he never did. I’ve been spending the last eight months, thinking all love ever does is break, and burn, and end. But on a Wednesday, in a cafe, I watched it begin again.”

"Begin Again" from the Red album. One of my top five favorite songs. Real love shows you how you should've been treated all along.

“Why would you wanna make the very first scar? Why would you wanna break a perfectly good heart?”

"A Perfectly Good Heart" from the first Taylor Swift album. Some people are only here to take. Never to give or share.

“The rain came pouring down, when I was drowning that’s when I cold finally breathe. And by morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean.”

'Clean' from 1989. It can take years, even lifetimes, to finally feel free from love.

“There I was again tonight, forcing laughter, faking smiles, same old tired lonely place. Walls of insincerity, shifting eyes and vacancy, vanished when I saw your face. All I can say is it was, enchanting to meet you.”

'Enchanted' from Speak Now album. Love at first sight?

“Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone, I’ll be waiting all that’s left to do is run. You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess, it’s a love story, baby just say yes.”

'Love Story' from Fearless album. This song makes me want to take a chance and escape with a stranger.

“I once was poison ivy, but now I’m your daisy.”

"Don't Blame Me" from Reputation. I'm only better when I'm with you.

“We could get married. Have 10 kids and teach em how to dream.”

"Starlight" from the Red album. Only certain people are worth growing with.

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