Digitally remastered from the original production master tapes, this a reissue of the 1980 & fourth album by 'the only band that matters'. Features the original artwork and all 36 of the original tracks, including 'The Call Up', 'Somebody Got Murdered', 'Police On My Back', 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'Hitsville U.K.'. 'Sandinista!' broke the top 30 in the U.S. at the time. Also includes a miniaturized reproduction of the faux neswpaper/ lyric sheet 'The Armagideon Times No.3'. Double slimline jewel case. 1999 release.
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One Of The Albums That Made Me What I Am
S. Nyland | Six Feet Of Earth & All That It Contains | 05/15/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Seriously, where to begin about "Sandinista!" other than yet another story from another quasi-punk who's life was profoundly influenced by it: This was THE album to have in my neighborhood during spring/summer 1980, now a mind blowing thirty years ago. We had no idea what reggae or dub was, couldn't have cared less about the genre spanning approach or production techniques. All we knew is that it was the new huge mega album by The Clash, and The Clash were about the coolest band ever.
My first copy was on cassette, a two tape collective that dominated my portable Panasonic tape recorder and eventual component stereo from Sears well into high school. Without knowing it the album broadened my musical horizons to the extent that when I DID finally encounter forms of music like reggae, rockabilly, skiffle and doo-wop they were already welcome to my ears in part due to "Sandinista!"'s breadth of styles.
I can only stress so much that at the time this was the big thing we absolutely did not care what The Clash might have come up with, listening regardless of how it didn't quite fit our expectations of a "punk" album. Heck that made it even more punk, the fact that some were annoyed by the indulgent attitude the band demonstrated of wanting to try everything at least once. It is the record's reckless sense of creativity that inspired me more than anything else, pushing the envelope beyond the orchestrated punk of "London Calling" and into genuine experimentation regardless of the outcome.
As a youth it was the crossover genre hybrid songs like "One More Time/One More Dub", "Lightning Strikes (Not Once Buy Twice)", "Let's Go Crazy" the epic "Charlie Don't Surf" and especially "The Crooked Beat" that caught my ears. I had no idea what rap was, didn't know reggae from R&B, and for that matter didn't quite get the lyrics even if the leftist ideals filtered into my own social awareness. This was the album that introduced me to politics on a global scale, with the meanings of songs like "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe", "The Call Up" and "Washington Bullets" hammering their messages home with repeat listenings that my somewhat conservative parents found both alarming and provocative at the same time. They let me listen to "Sandinista!", where my Dead Kennedys and Sex Pistols records were routinely confiscated.
Now listening as an adult it is the more wistful tracks that get repeat playings: "Something About England" now has a haunting quality that escaped me as a younger person, "The Street Parade" has become my favorite track and in my opinion they blew a potential hit single opportunity in passing over "The Kingston Advice" in favor of "Hitsville U.K.", a song I have never been very fond of. Not sure why, I always go for the underdog tracks.
But whatever, the experimentation that led to "Hittsville U.K." and "Magnificent Seven" also resulted in "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe", goofy "Look Here", the Bruce Springsteenish "Corner Soul", the surreal "Midnight Log" and all those reggae dub mixes with Mikey Dread. Some of it is a bit too much but then again that's what triple LPs are for. I admire The Clash for delivering a bit too much when they could have just done a halfassed job like so many other bands. At least they had the nerve to be willing to fail ("Lose This Skin" and my beloved "The Crooked Beat" haven't aged very well) which is the only way successful art can be executed. Hesitancy doesn't score you many fans.
As you read over other reviews look at how many "stories" people have about how "Sandinista!" entered, changed, influenced and improved their lives. Here is a useful, utilitarian album that you'll find new things to hear from every time you put it on. The Clash should also be praised for their dogged determination to keep the cost of this album at a bargain rate. How many other bands would have jacked up the price for CD? At $17 retail the two disc set is a steal. You won't regret picking it up, and to harken back to something Bill Cosby used to say, if you're not careful you just might learn something by listening to it."