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Old 06-13-2008, 06:04 PM   #81 (permalink)
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I have to agree with reviewers who say that London Calling is a sampling of styles the Clash were good at...and styles they weren't so hot at. The Card Cheat, Brand New Cadillac, Clampdown, Guns Of Brixton, and a few others are quite good. What holds me back from liking the album are the performances and the production. The tracks don't seem to have the right punch. The title track is, to me, the most frustrating. All of the elements are there; the anthemic, doom-filled structure, the zooming bass line, the killer riff...but the record doesn't deliver. It sounds overdone, with none of the energy it should have had. Throughout the album, the tracks plod, treading a middle ground between firery rock and laid-back "white reggae." For some people that's an asset; for me, it sinks the album.
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:06 PM   #82 (permalink)
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Every criticism of this album I have seen always has the same boring criticisms. Sell Outs , White boy reggae bandwagon jumpers , too long , not punk , too many different styles they're not good at... and so on and so on.
First of all why would anyone want to record a punk album in 1979 anyway? The bands in the UK punk scene by this time had long since either moved on or become stale anyway. I mean what motivation would there have been for The Clash to write a punk album in 1979 anyway? to make an album that's slightly better than Sham 69 or a bunch of crappy OI bands? I don't think so.

They were right to move on and they went back to the music they grew up with to do it. Paul Simonen learned how to play bass playing reggae , he always said he felt more comfortable playing it than rock music , he grew up listening to it. Jones grew up listening to glam/art rock like Bowie , T-Rex , Roxy Music , Alice Cooper , New York Dolls. Those influences are all in there. Strummer grew up listening to reggae , rockabilly . protest singers and lots of roots music. Basically all these influences are in this album somewhere so to suggest they were just trying anything doesn't wash with me.

The album itself for me is the most complete double album ever released. I can't think of another double album that has such a good hit/miss ratio in it's favour . It's only the end of side 4 where things begin to slow down. On sides 1 to 3 there isn't a single filler track. The lesser known songs on the album are where it gets it's character from. Stuff like Jimmy Jazz , The Card Cheat , The Right Profile , Koka Kola and Wrong 'Em Boyo are much more entertaining songs than some anonymous angry 3 chord punk thrashabout which is where side 2 of Give Em Enough Rope really suffers.

The Clash were considered one of the best live bands ever and it says something that after this album was released the band hardly ever played anything off the first 2 albums again save for 3 or 4 songs. At least 70% of the songs on this album were played live on a regular basis and you don't get a reputation for being a great live band playing crap songs.

I would say some of the above criticisms would apply to Sandinista where they DID seem to throw everything but the kitchen sink in and it did seem like they were trying to hard. But there is no way that applies to London Calling.
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:45 PM   #83 (permalink)
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I will add comments for this in a couple of days.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:45 PM   #84 (permalink)
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I'd be curious to make a case for Sgt Pepper. I'll wait to see what you have in mind though, first.
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Old 06-18-2008, 08:25 AM   #85 (permalink)
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Weither it be positive or negative theres hardly anything that hasn't been said about this album already, but I'll give it a shot.

Sgt Pepper is wrongly identified as a psychedelic album, and even if it is it dosen't sound like one. The idea behind it was that after giving up touring The Beatles were tired of being The Beatles and Paul came up with the concept of a fictional band and the new album would be based on that. Revolver had some pretty innovative sounds and it was a masterpiece of production, but this album really deserves to be looked upon as the groups magnum opus. It's really the first album that truly showcases the talents of every member, it's my favorite Beatles album and I love every song on it (except the pointless Sgt Peppers revival), this album overall is the sound of the band evolving in every way.

People who call this a ripoff of the American psychedelic scene are looking desperately for an excuse. This album took inspiration (which according to Rainard a band is never supposed to do) from the movement sure, but it dosen't sound like it, you're not gonna listen to it and confuse it with Jefferson Airplane, hell Pink Floyd took a lot more from the American psychedelic rock scene and yet they're supposed to be more original? Give me a break. The Beatles took inspiration from psychedelia like they did from many other genres that find their way into Sgt Peppers, they made something new out of it and and something that was not common in rock music at the time, making an album that went directly from a 5 minute Raga song with lyrics about Hinduism to a tribute to Music Hall, I wouldn't really call that playing it safe for a rock band back in 1967. This was mostly Paul's project, that certainly plays a part in peoples dislike for this album. I know this album is an easy target for the so called hipsters primarly because it contrasts with some purist ideals of what rock music should be, in other words it should never be mature, it should always be stupid. I hate people with this attidude, the idea that music NEEDS to be one thing is just foolish.

While I don't think this album should be pigeonholed into psychedelic rock, it is true that this album in a lot of ways defined the sentiments of the love generation, everyone hates hippies now so I guess thats why people feel this album is outdated.

Only it's not outdated, it was insanely ahead of it's time. Without Sgt Peppers I find it hard to imagine there would be as many artists setting trends and breaking genre barriers in the way The Beatles did with this album. This album I think was an essential influence on progressive rock. Yes, King Crimson and Genesis all started in the late 60s and it's actually pretty clear that they were trying to expand on the ideas The Beatles had for Sgt Pepper. And yeah, I think thats largely the reason people hate this album, it's very pomp, and it contains a lot of elements that would latter define the genre of prog that many people love to hate. All I have to say to that is love it or leave it.

Hating the album is one thing. But then people get really ridiculous and try to downplay it's impact, and some wish it was never made and that The Beatles should have never matured and gone beyond writing puppy love songs, but these people are wrong and can go screw themselves.
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:54 AM   #86 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boo boo View Post
.The Beatles took inspiration from psychedelia like they did from many other genres that find their way into Sgt Peppers, they made something new out of it and and something that was not common in rock music at the time, making an album that went directly from a 5 minute Raga song with lyrics about Hinduism to a tribute to Music Hall, I wouldn't really call that playing it safe for a rock band back in 1967. This was mostly Paul's project, that certainly plays a part in peoples dislike for this album. I know this album is an easy target for the so called hipsters primarly because it cotrasts with some purist ideals of what rock music should be, in other words it should never be mature, it should always be stupid. I hate people with this attidude, the idea that music NEEDS to be one thing is just foolish
That's quite a good run down of why i like it. It took the avantgarde and made it accessible, so much so that millions everywhere will at the least recognise the cover.
Although i hate When I'm Sixty Four, but you get what i mean.

I'd say 'charming' come to mind before 'pomp' does. There's that edge, but there's still those innocent little pop songs with Ringo bumbling over the top of them.
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Old 06-18-2008, 12:19 PM   #87 (permalink)
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I love When I'm Sixty Four, I've always loved Paul's Music Hall style songs.
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Old 06-18-2008, 02:31 PM   #88 (permalink)
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"Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies,
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you're gone."

Sounds like a psychedelic acid trip to me.

But I can't hate on this album...it is has always put me in a good mood in even the darkest of times.
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Old 06-18-2008, 04:09 PM   #89 (permalink)
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That dosen't make the whole album psychedelic rock. Sure it has psychedelic elements. But so do many artists that are not psychedelic rock. It's a lot more sophisticated than what people consider to be psychedelic rock.

You can't really pigeonhole an album like Sgt Peppers into any single category. But I think it shares more in common with early progressive rock (before bands like ELP really pomped it up) than anything else.
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Old 06-18-2008, 05:01 PM   #90 (permalink)
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I really can't get too excited about the album on its own merits. It's a typically dull Beatles affair, in my opinion. On the other hand, the incredible influence it had really gives people an excuse to hate it. I can't argue with them. If you're into meticulously crafted albums, perfection and artifice at the expense of raw passion, and "building block" records as opposed to live takes, you likely find Sgt. Pepper a godsend. Personally, I can think of only one good reason to like Sgt. Pepper, and that is the backlash phenomenon. After the album was released, most people tried to fill up their albums with as many tricky effects as possible; the most prominent initial exception was Bob Dylan, who released the brilliant, low-key John Wesley Harding. Most people, though, followed the ambitious production techniques made popular (not invented) by the album. Again, to some people, this is a virtue; for me, though, the best I can say is that the album indirectly led to punk rock.
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