Weekday Wayback: The Clash- Combat Rock

Of their entire discography, The Clash achieved the most commercial success with Combat Rock, their fifth album. It's interesting seeing a British band comment on things like the Vietnam War and its aftermath on tracks like "Straight to Hell". For those of you familiar with the artist M.I.A., her hit song "Paper Planes" samples the opening of "Straight to Hell". Another interesting thing to note about Combat Rock is that poet Allen Ginsberg appears on the track "Ghetto Defendant". The ugliness we don't often acknowledge about our country and its history is a theme that many artists have worked with since the release of Combat Rock in 1982. Albums released contemporarily to it include Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA and U2's The Joshua Tree. My personal favorite track is "Should I Stay or Should I Go" because Strummer incorporates Spanish into the lyrics in a way that doesn't feel forced. It's a little sad that this was the last album to feature the original lineup of the band because drummer Topper Headon's deteriorating health and poor life choices led him to be fired from the band. He was not the only member to be fired because guitarist Mick Jones was similarly let go before the band began work on their sixth and final album, Cut the Crap. Band squabbles aside, Combat Rock is a pretty solid album and worth checking out beyond the more well known singles "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and "Rock the Casbah".

Natalie Doggett

Natalie DoggettComment