Released: May 14, 1982
Genre: Punk, Punk Rock, Post Punk
Label: CBS, Epic
Producer(s): The Clash, Glyn Johns
Singles: “Know Your Rights”, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, “Rock The Casbah”, “Straight to Hell”
Personnel: Joe Strummer – lead and backing vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano; Mick Jones – guitar, backing and lead vocals, keyboards, sound effects; Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Red Angel Dragnet”; Topper Headon – drums, piano and bass guitar on “Rock the Casbah”
Certified: 2xPlatinum (RIAA)
“Know Your Rights”
“Should I Stay or Should I Go”
“Rock the Casbah”
“Red Angel Deagnet”
“Straight to Hell”
“Overpowered by Funk”
“Death Is A Star”
Let’s talk about the Clash and their best-selling album of all time – “Combat Rock”. A sell-out or not, “Combat Rock” could easily find its place among some of the most exciting punk rock albums of all time. Not only in happens to be the final record by the Clash’s original line-up but it also best illustrates the band’s versatile talents and eagerness to experiment and take chances. The truly intriguing aspects of “Combat Rock” are The Clash’s provoking efforts to incorporate reggae, funk and rap into their heavy punk sound.
With “Combat Rock”, the Clash seemingly takes a step back from their previous expressive efforts we can witness in “London Calling” and “Sandinista!”. However, we still get to experience a quite delightful inconsistency and interesting mess that this pure avant-garde selection of punk rock tunes offers us.
Without doubt, the finest moments of the record have to be “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Rock the Casbah”. I say finest because those simple and hooking ultimate punk rock anthems became the absolute winning hand for the Clash and this record. With the foolish but fantastic rhythm of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” the Clash dominated the radio waves and is still probably their most instantly-recognizable tune. “Rock the Casbah”, on the other hand, brings us some solid new wave, dance vibes. “Know Your Rights” and “Death Is A Star” are songs that impress with strong, fighting words, though “Death Is A Star” is one of those songs which makes us question ourselves whether we are listening to the Clash or it’s a completely different band – it just sounds too bizarre. “Car Jamming” and “Ghetto Defendant” are more dynamic and bass-oriented tunes that give us this good old nice chilling out effect. “Straight To Hell” has to be the most unforgettable song of the album due to its haunting and strange, even a bit uncomfortable atmosphere it creates. “Overpowered by Funk” sounds very out of place but then again, the album’s aim is the opposite of providing us with a consistent feeling. On the contrary, if you want to get rid of your boredom and have fun, this is the album for you.
Overall, inconsistency might be a good thing when it’s done in the right way and with the right proportion of experimentation and variety. “Combat Rock” is too strange, too wild and too distressing. However, after all, we are talking about the Clash and they can never be anything else than that. Many critics slammed this record and even pointed it as the band’s biggest selling out effort. Regardless, with this album, the band managed to reach a much larger audience and leave a much greater impression which, if you ask me, speaks volumes.
Should I Stay or Should I Go
Rock the Casbah
Overpowered by Funk
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.