Sunday October 19, 2003
There wasn't that much difference between The Sex Pistols and The Spice Girls: formed by svengalis; challenged accepted verities; spiky records; great costumes. The Pistols had more in common with The Spice Girls than with The Clash.The Pistols embodied nihilism whereas The Clash were great believers. I was eight in 1976. I thought 'I Fought the Law' was a song about girls called 'Knock on the Door, Anna'. Loved it. Your own meanings are always the best.
Now, if this record was on the radio and the telly all the time it would be a hit, but it's probably not the sort of record with which producers want to flood the airwaves. Fair enough. That this music doesn't pander to that is part of its strength. This is a Strummer record, so it's about freedom and festivals; demons and shadows; and it's got folky cowboy hat bits and possibly the first time anywhere that anyone has sung the words 'emancipation' and 'inniquiddy'. There's musically nothing new, but then Joe was developing into a minstrel mystic. If he had lived and worked with Timbaland maybe they could have made chart hits, but that's a bit like getting Changing Rooms in at the Tower of London.
Joe was willing to go to great lengths for what he believed in, which is probably as good a definition of an artist as any. If you liked him, you'll like this record.
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