The best 2-CD Clash compilation imaginable, compiled by the band! 40 of their key cuts: White Riot; Career Opportunities; I Fought the Law; Tommy Gun; London Calling; Brand New Cadillac; Rock the Casbah; Should I Stay or Should I Go long live Strummer!
The Essential Clash
demonstrates once again how superior the Clash were to any of their punk peers. It's striking that, while the effects of the movement continue to resonate decades later, most '70s punk has dated badly. Even the great singles of the Sex Pistols
, perhaps because they encapsulated the time so perfectly, do little more than remind one of 1977. But this fine 40-track double-disc collection demonstrates that the Clash's sound maintains its vitality, whether in the apocalyptic foreboding of "London Calling" or the sulking "I'm So Bored with the USA." When frontman Joe Strummer
died in December 2002 at age 50, much was made of the political conscience he'd brandished throughout his career; it must be noted that appearing to be a great thinker in comparison to other rock singers is no great accomplishment. Appearing a great rock singer in comparison to other vocalists is a much more impressive achievement, and this retrospective provides irrefutable evidence of the genius of Strummer and the band he led. --Andrew Mueller