The Clash Toby Goldstein - Essay

Toby Goldstein

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Clash began their career in 1976 as an opening act for the Sex Pistols in Britain's punk cellars. At the time they were raw, directed, and angry. Since then they have become a lot more polished, but their aim at selected targets is still arrow straight, and they're angrier than ever.

Their first LP, "The Clash,"… sounded like it had been recorded in a laundry room with a buzz saw as the featured instrument. Through the garbled production emerged such songs as … London's Burning and I'm So Bored with the U.S.A.—just the sort of pleasantries that corporate ears love to hear. The album became a U.K. best-seller and an import favorite….

[They] remained true to the uncompromising nature of both their music and politics, issuing such singles as Complete Control, Clash City Rockers, and Capitol Radio….

All of these are powerful songs you should know by heart, but you've probably never heard them since the Clash have been anonymous in the U.S. until now. Not that CBS's meager debut campaign for "Give 'Em Enough Rope" should improve matters much. A music trade has called the LP an important New Wave product, but only in small print way in the back pages…. [The] Clash will not have an easy time of it in the U.S. There is no media charmer like the Pistols' Johnny Rotten in this group, and Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Paul Simenon, and Nicky "Topper" Headon don't extend...

(The entire section is 427 words.)