Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Clash- London Calling

Would you believe when I first heard London Calling I didn't like it? It was sprawling mix of music very unfamiliar to my circa-1994 grunge-tinted ears. It's amazing how with a little bit of digging, you realize that current music isn't as current as you think. This album was my first course in the drift of ideas from one generation to the next, and how there is nothing completely "new," just a series of information being transmitted and decoded by a different, sometimes younger set of musicians. This has been my best defense against writers block: not worrying about wearing your influences on your sleeves. (aka, Guns of Brixton basically being a template for the Beastie Boys)

There is something incredibly liberating about this ideal! Think about the mass of information out there waiting to be reinterpreted! Of course, you can be TOO derivative, but part and parcel, you are giving a melody, a chord, an idea (whatever!) renewed life. What a better way to pay tribute, especially in this world of information overload. It makes complete sense, just as much as buying albums to support musicians who make music you love to enable them to keep making music.

The record store I picked it up in doesn't exist anymore (Cornelius, NC). I had returned Sleeps With Angels by Neil Young having decided that was not the best "so you want to listen to Neil Young" album, and decided The Clash were my next conquest. It took me years to finally penetrate it's veneer and now I listen to it nearly once every 4 months or so. At the time I had no idea that Sandinista! even existed...

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