The Clash Richard Riegel - Essay

Richard Riegel

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

After a few weeks of reverent listening, I still can't say for certain what [Give 'Em Enough Rope] is really "about", though I know that I like it a helluva lot, and I know that just as with the first set, I can never seem to listen to it often enough; new facets lunge out at me each time I give it another spin.

Complicating the analytical procedure are a couple of thorny facts: there's no libretto enclosed, again this time (the Clash have always insisted that people not understand them too quickly); and some of the anger-chocked vocals … remain absolutely unintelligible to this Yank (what is that mysterious singsong chorus to "All the Young Punks"?). Mind you, I'm not complaining, nor am I forgetting that the Rolling Stones never went broke overestimating the aural acuity of their fans.

Apparently, the Clash have given me just enough lyrical rope to make me think (their stated aim in all their interviews), just enough to solve the concept of the album in my own time; or to hang myself up trying. I've got a long way to go with this album, but that's the kind of depth I've sought in my music and art all along….

Joe Strummer and Mick Jones capture the moods of the urban England of the 1970's better than just about anybody else tackling this present moment….

[Here] are some stabs at a preliminary textual analysis: "English Civil War" is "about" the political...

(The entire section is 563 words.)