Review #16: London Calling, The Clash

Karla Clifton
3 min readJan 20, 2021

#16: London Calling, The Clash

I have a vivid memory of being fascinated by a Rolling Stone article about London Calling in high school, shortly after I received my license. I immediately bought it on iTunes, burned it onto a blank CD, and played it on repeat every morning as I drove to school. (Wow, what a telling couple of sentences.)

I found something interesting as I went down the list, particularly for the albums that I listened to on this first 25-hour road trip. Albums that I already had a relationship with, like this one — like Revolver (#11) and Nevermind (#6)— slid by without me taking too much note of them, especially if I was tired or irritated or distracted. It happened to me the worst with this one. I don’t even really remember what state I was in when I heard it.

But I do remember that there was always a bit of mental relief that came with this familiarity. I didn’t need to hear it another time to confirm that it was one of the best albums ever, but it was fun to do it anyway.


“London Calling” — Obviously I love this song but jeez, Joe Strummer, talk about peanut butter mouth. And the way he throws his pitch all over the place — insanity.

“Brand New Cadillac” — Is there any question that this is one of the coolest songs ever? I do remember that my road rage went way up during this song.

“Jimmy Jazz” — I used to always skip this song but it’s really grown on me.

“Hateful” — The Anything I want part is such fun.

“Spanish Bombs” — Oh no, the ska-pocalypse!

“Lost In The Supermarket” — This is one of the most relatable songs ever, don’t you think? I know exactly what it’s like to have an existential crisis in the supermarket.

“Wrong ’Em Boyo” — This is another awesome party song.

“Koka Kola” — I never remember this song but it’s another jam. Also is it about cocaine? It’s hard to tell, what with the peanut butter mouth.

“Lover’s Rock” — What a sexy guitar. I keep thinking I hear innuendos in this song, but it’s hard to say for sure, on account of the peanut butter mouth.

“I’m Not Down” — This isn’t my favorite song on the album, but I think this song ~encompasses~ everything I love most about this album, if you know what I mean.

“Revolution Rock” — I feel like this could be a Bob Marley song.

“Train in Vain (Stand By Me)” — THIS is my favorite song on the album (and America’s favorite song on any Clash album). Did you know they didn’t list this track on the back of the album when they released it? What kind of secret-track-crap is that?!


“The Right Profile” — Gets on my nerves.

“Death or Glory” — Annoying.

“The Card Cheat” — Boring.


Nah, this is a great album. I think the line between “annoying” and “catchy” is often very thin when it comes to ska, so it takes a truly great group to take it and run with it.

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