There’s been a lot of talk lately about the Clash and their
incisive, pointed lyrics. But as it often goes in rock ‘n ‘ roll;
when you break down their lyrics you often see that they
are slogans that make great anthems, they are not poetry
or Das Capital. And you know what? That’s cool with me.
Studying lyrics for deeper meaning is for chumps. My
favorite Clash song has long been “Complete Control,”
a song with incomprehensible lyrics. Imagine the letdown
when I finally looked up the lyrics a couple of years ago
and found out it was just Joe Strummer bitching about his
record company. In other words, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Workin’
For MCA” done by a less-tough, less-populist band. But the
relentless, riffing sound and Strummer’s call-to-arms voice
make “Complete Control” one of the all-time brilliant rockers.
I loved the Clash’s passion, their humor, and their willingness
to take a stand. And seeing Westway to the World knocked
me up the head and made me see how truly great of a live
band they were. So give me the whooooo-ooooh-hooohs of
“White Man in Hammersmith Palais”, the C-O-N control from
“Complete Control” and the ohhhhh-yeahhhhhs in their cover
of “Pressure Drop.” When I hear those, they truly were the
only band that mattered.