Artist: "The Clash"
Album: "London Calling"
Genre: Punk Rock
Label: Epic

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 1/11/2008

Review: London Calling is the best album ever recorded, and if you don't agree with that, send me a letter describing what it feels like to be so wrong, because I'm actually kind of curious. You see, it's a fact that London Calling is the greatest album of all time because I can go on Wikipedia anytime and make it so, but I totally don't have to.

I remember when I first heard the album, I wasn't blown away by it. I was just getting into punk so I checked out some older stuff that was listed everywhere as "required listening", and upon hearing it I thought "this doesn't sound very punk to me". The songs were all over the place and there were so damn many of them I couldn't even keep track of them all. I had trouble remembering which song was which, and after a few listens I decided it was okay and put it on the shelf.

Apparently this is the kind of album you need to slowly digest for a while, because a few months later I pulled it out for a couple more listens, and suddenly it was as if a beam of light shone down from the heavens and the plugs were removed from my ears. Yes, this album is all over the place, and therein lies its sheer brilliance. You've got your punk, ska, reggae, lounge, rockabilly--you name it, it's probably in there somewhere. With this album The Clash set out to prove that they were more than simple punk rockers, and prove that they did, for this is one of the most versatile albums you will ever hear. With this release The Clash established themselves as serious musicians who transcended genre, as from here on out they were "punk" only in so far as their attitude was concerned; their music went way beyond punk rock's borders, and outside those borders is where they spent most of their time from that point on, occasionally making brief visits back to their old home turf.

And there are a lot of songs to keep track of, nineteen in all, because The Clash decided to give their fans a double album for the price of one after tricking the record label into agreeing to let them do it. But once you've given it a few listens, the different songs' personalities will start making themselves known to you and they'll get inside your head. The length of the album is just right with absolutely none of the filler you find on most double (or even long) albums. There's not a bad (or remotely close to) song in the set, but for my money it doesn't get any better than "Spanish Bombs" and "Lost in the Supermarket".

Give this album a chance if you've never heard it before, and if you haven't heard it in a while, blow the dust off and listen to it with fresh ears. If it doesn't sound like greatness to you, you're listening to it wrong.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

James Brown in hiding
Jan 11th, 2008, 07:19 AM
No Prot, this is not the best album ever recorded however it is a Goddamned good album. The Clash is so popular even today and.. what? Wait.. sorry that was the White Stripes parroting their style. Jack white wants to be English and a member of the Clash so bad he's probably somewhere looking in a mirror going "You toytally a loymie!". What made this album and The Clash so fucking good was the fact that they were able to make punk rock, but the singer could actually sing as opposed to just string together obscenities like Johnny Rotton.

I really feel bad for anyone that's never heard this album, namely because they've bad taste in music but also because fuck, it's the Clash man. This album is so goddamned classic that every "new" rock band out there is parroting that style of snide, undertoned British rock only none of them are snide and none of them are British no matter how much those fucking idiots from the Strokes pray for it. All the poseurs with the poofed out bangs and stand up basses owe to this album and it's so worth it. Though I suppose you're expecting some kind of typical forum post from me so uh..


Or something equally retarded as heard on X-Box live.
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 08:40 AM
"Sgt. Pepper's", "Piper @ the gates of dawn", "Hot Rats", "Ramones", "jet Generation" are of same goodness, feels good to be wrong, as usual
Pickleman's Uncle
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:05 AM
That's a funny comedy article.
Of course we both know that "Transformers: The Movie" The Soundtrack is the best thing ever recorded.

And to "parroting" guy. Yeah everyone's is parroting the "singer + guitar + drums" style.
Rape you...
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:50 AM
Mr. Clown, you are so wrong. The best album ever recorded is Judas Priest's Painkiller, no other. Akira Yamaoka's iFuturelist is the second best album ever. And number three is Cannibal Corpse's Kill. (And not to forget The Downward Spiral by NIN and Primus records)

Arguing aside, just got Black Sabbath's Dio Years cd. Works for me, works really fucking well...
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 11th, 2008, 04:42 PM
Don't you fuckers make me go edit Wikipedia and prove you wrong. I'll prove it!

D-MoN: How can you say that someone's taste in music sucks just because they haven't been exposed to this album? Isn't that kind of a "crazy person" thing to say?

Grishnak: I'm not a big fan of Sgt. Peppers, I have to say. I wouldn't even rank it in my top 5 Beatles albums, and in my book their best one is Revolver, hands down. And Ramones is a great album, but how can you put it in the same league as this? It's just three-chord songs that all sound the same! Don't get me wrong, I love that album and the Ramones are one of my favorite bands, but if you want to talk about overall musicianship The Clash are worlds above them (though I enjoy both bands about equally). Piper at the Gates of Dawn was a silly, fun album that I haven't listened to in years. It has a cheesy charm to it, I suppose. I haven't heard the other ones, though I've been meaning to check out more Zappa. And the only "Jet Generation" I can find is by Guitar Wolf. They're a fun band, I saw 'em live before the original Bass Wolf died, but they're not exactly going to change the world or anything.

Poxpower: Yarrrgh! Cannot...refute...the power...of...STAN BUSH!

: Heh. Sorry man, I haven't heard any of those except for Downward Spiral.
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 11th, 2008, 05:12 PM
Hahah Pox just blew your mind, Proto!
Forum Virgin
Jan 11th, 2008, 07:00 PM
Old saying in my village say: only thing scarier than Grish is clown that is proto and his humour, Grish will not risk fury of clown that is proto and who is friend of supreme ruler Mock. But try again Piper, try listen but add magic cookies. Or magic mushrooms. Best albuuuuum! Rarrrrrghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!
James Brown in hiding
Jan 11th, 2008, 08:07 PM
Well el Proto-man I can say it because if you're a fan of good music and have never heard of this album or heard it means that you've either actively avoided it or are just plain suffering from bad taste. No one who likes music from Mozart to Iron Maiden could not have heard of this album unless they're Amish and then they're forgiven because they have those totally bitchin' beards.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 11th, 2008, 10:53 PM
Yeah, but there's a difference between ignorance and bad taste. Maybe someone has only been exposed to a small portion of music but they like a bunch of really good stuff, you know? I do agree that most people who are "into" music would have at least heard of this album if they haven't heard it, but maybe some people just don't care about certain genres. Doesn't mean they have bad taste, necessarily. Just limited taste.
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:24 PM
Proto: Didn't the Ramones always strive for a more simplistic form of Rock N' Roll?

PS: I'm still looking for a riot of my own.
Forum Virgin
Jan 12th, 2008, 01:12 AM
Ah classic! Not the only best album for me, but one of the few, that's for damn sure! I got into the Clash in my ska days, and I've never looked back! Brilliantly done, showing how verstile a band can actually be, while still holding true to some very basic, core sounds. Later albums tried to recapture what this album had, and some were so close, yet still fell short. I don't care if having multiple all time favortie options is a cop out, it works damnit!
Jan 12th, 2008, 04:12 AM
This album is definitely one of the best. But who can really say what's the best? A lot of people that's who.

I think as far as The Ramones compared to the Clash go...they are both expertly crafted pop-punk. Both bands completely understood how to make an infectious song. The Clash just branched out into different genres.
Jan 12th, 2008, 08:33 AM
3 woids, Plastic Surgery Disasters. May not be the best album ever but its definately one of the most complex exhibits of punk that would still be considerd accessable to the general public. Aside from punk tho, Ziggy Stardust, Dark Side of the Moon(a given), or my personal favorite, Lifted (or the storys in the soil, keep your ear to the ground) by bright eyes. Say what you want but theres brilliant songwriting on that album.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 12th, 2008, 11:10 AM
I do realize that calling anything "the best album ever" is stupid, but I always argue this as if it's a fact to annoy my friends, and their frustration amuses me, so I did it here too.

But yeah, the Ramones certainly weren't trying to do anything overly complex, and they were fucking genius at what they did do. One of my absolute favorite bands, and I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't "get" them, because they're missing out on some of the most fun songs in existence.

And Plastic Surgery Disasters is my favorite Dead Kennedys album, no doubt. I will probably be doing a review of it here at some point.
Jan 12th, 2008, 01:02 PM
Anything with Jello Biafra is gold, which is why East Bay Ray and his goon's new soul raping DK Dead Kennedys make me cry inside.
James Brown in hiding
Jan 12th, 2008, 01:41 PM
Yeah y'know booze and James Brown records will fix that right up for you Nick.
Forum Virgin
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:46 AM
I forget "A night at the opera"! O mamma mia mamma mia MAMMA MIA LET ME GO!
James Brown in hiding
Jan 13th, 2008, 08:25 AM
Could be worse though. Could be the subtle homoerotic overtones of men in denial that we call Death Metal. Death metal sucks on a good day but when you realize it's just a cheap man's way out of the closet instead of just kicking the damn thing open and screaming waht you want we tress it up as lame ass corpse paint. So yeah, London Calling is awesome because it's about a genuine expression of anger and not rage because you're so repressed that your idiot fans can't get the hint from makeup and black leather straps.
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 13th, 2008, 01:04 PM
I like this album because it got me laid. Twice.
Forum Virgin
Jan 13th, 2008, 02:39 PM
this is definetly in the top ten, but for my taste the top spot is either Nirvana Unplugged in New York or Johnny Cash Live at San Quinton.
Master of teh lazer!
Jan 13th, 2008, 03:25 PM
I perfer Dr. Steel's People of Earth myself. Then again, almost no one has heard it. Just check out my site for some of his music. -Nods-
Built in the 80s
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:15 PM
I agree that it's best album ever recorded.
Master of teh lazer!
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:30 PM
Bane of Zombies
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:37 PM
Changing gears for a second...has anyone ever seen Stephen Lynch? He's a singing comedian and he's HILARIOUS! Maybe a bit mean, but abolutely hilarious. My favorite song is "Beelz".

What's your favorite song that he did?
Official forum judge
Jan 13th, 2008, 10:32 PM
Master Of Nothing
Jan 14th, 2008, 12:49 AM
I believe Def Leppard's Pyromania is the best album ever.
age 8 1/2
Jan 14th, 2008, 02:11 AM
ftw - Dark Side of the Moon, a top 200 album for 736 weeks, over 14 years.
Jan 14th, 2008, 04:05 PM
Originally Posted by D-MoN View Post
Could be worse though. Could be the subtle homoerotic overtones of men in denial that we call Death Metal. Death metal sucks on a good day but when you realize it's just a cheap man's way out of the closet instead of just kicking the damn thing open and screaming waht you want we tress it up as lame ass corpse paint. So yeah, London Calling is awesome because it's about a genuine expression of anger and not rage because you're so repressed that your idiot fans can't get the hint from makeup and black leather straps.
Wow, you really are a dick with a superiority complex and possibly a bad case of hemorrhoids. I'm not going to point out your shitty grammar or spelling because that would just be rude, no I'm going to point out some glaring errors you've made during your, quite clearly, "in depth" observations of metal culture.

First error: Bondage Gear and Corpsepaint is a signature of Black Metal, not Death, and was first introduced to separate the movement from other types of metal out at the time.

Second Error: 'London Calling' is a genuine expression of anger yet no metal is? Is that your argument? Do I really need to go any more in depth than that? No.

Maybe you'll soon be the one bursting out of the closet in a shower of semen and gay porn when you finally realise you've repressed your real feelings, Mister Homophobic shithead.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 15th, 2008, 06:37 PM
Not to worry, Styled Executioner: after reading some of D-Mon's other comments, it's pretty clear that you probably shouldn't take him very seriously.
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:45 AM
It gives me chance to vent my rage in a family friendly, safe, hygienic way anyway. So it's all good.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 17th, 2008, 12:37 AM
Oh, by all means, continue then. Rant away!
James Brown in hiding
Jan 21st, 2008, 09:23 AM
Heh you'd be right there Prot. However I don't want the little mouth-pooper to feel bad so I wrote a Death/Black metal song for him.


Now add some blast beats and some high speed licks and pretend it means something, BLAMMO! Instant black metal and with that magic, you can feel relevant.
Official Punching Bag
Feb 9th, 2008, 03:00 AM
My old Art teacher let me put London Calling into the CD Player of his art room, and he was worried that it would have swearing. He mostly listens to Classical music on the ABC Classical Radio channel. You could forgive him for not being that aware of Punk.

But I put it on, and he compared it to the Beatles. I believe he missed the point, since the opening track states "phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust".

I sat at a desk, and listened to this album for the very first time. It was very different from the "The Clash: The Singles" CD I was given for my birthday one year that made me a fan of their music.

But what I noticed about it was, it wasn't really angry music in a yelling way. One of my favorite albums was the Sex Pistols's "Never Mind the Bollocks", and knowing what the other side of Punk was, I was able to see how The Clash used Punk in their own way, distanced from Anarchy, but still political.

You know, there are some times in your life, that when you hear so much about an album being good, and you finally listen to it with your own ears, that you remember forever. I guess it was the experience of putting it in a CD player before my iPod that really gives you the feel of an album that you rarely get these days, since iPods and stuff like that have made music portable, yet there are sometimes when an album was not meant to have headphones for speakers. It needs to be played to the open air.

Funnily enough, this girl I know came in for an article she needed for research, and she heard the music, identified it, and told me she had it on vinyl. And they say there's no hope for the future, even with kids like us around who listen to good stuff from a past era.
Feb 9th, 2008, 03:27 AM
So I'm really offended by this thread
Random Adaptive Schema
Apr 8th, 2008, 08:02 PM
macro death:"Mr. Clown, you are so wrong. The best album ever recorded is Judas Priest's Painkiller, no other."

Totally dude, I made an account just so I can give you props. I stopped hanging out with a kid one time because he said The Clash was better than Judas Priest. The entire world is really just a dream that Rob Halford is having that we happen to be characters in.
The Goddamned Batman
Apr 9th, 2008, 01:06 AM
Random Adaptive Schema
Apr 9th, 2008, 02:22 PM
War eh? Well heres all the proof you need that Judas Priest is better than The Clash. Rob Halford, the lead singer of Priest, had a painting commissioned of himself atop a mountain of monsters killing them with an ax, in the spirit of Frank Frazetta's Conan works, which he then put on mouse pads and posters and sells on his web site. I think thats check mate, war over.

Smooth Operator
Jun 17th, 2008, 07:45 AM
Except for the fact that your link leads nowhere.

I'm on the "best album ever" bandwagon.
Jan 26th, 2009, 09:18 PM
I agree, I had listened to this album quite a bit before I really started liking it. I always thought it was just so damn over-rated, and not very punk at all. I really love how it is so diverse as opposed to say the Ramones, or Stiff little Fingers.
The Ugly Puckling
Jan 26th, 2009, 11:46 PM
Best Album Ever? Far from it, the best album ever is London Calling by The Clash, you nitwits. I read it on Wikipedia.
Forum Virgin
Jan 30th, 2009, 06:45 PM
Definitely a classic album that I can listen to all the time