Review Summary: Don't kill me...2 of 4 thought this review was well written
A delightfully varied, in parts brilliant, in parts half-baked album, London Calling is the undoubted highlight of the career of the greatest punk band ever.
Almost every song offers something to the album, yet the key to its overall brilliance is to be such a lyrically serious yet musically delightful romp.
Overall, "London Calling" works best when it takes itself seriously. The simplicity of the title track, with its powerful, protest one-two opening riff and Joe Strummer's apocalyptic howl in the chorus, is arguably the best punk song ever, at #15 in Rolling Stone Magazines 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. The gold-digger putdown "Brand New Cadillac", with its Peter Gunn style music, is the sole nod to blues on the album. The sad, whistful "Lost In The Supermarket", anthemic "Clampdown" and super-cool reggae "Guns of Brixton" delve into the society of middle class Britain, with what seems to be an eerie premontion to the 1985 miners strike. "Koka Kola", about the excess and dark corruption of high level businessmen, is one of the best demonstrations of musical satire ever.
Between "Jimmy Jazz" and "Rudie Can't Fail", the lyrical inspiration is thinner. If you choose to simply enjoy the skilful blend of ska, jazz, reggae and even skiffle, you'll enjoy it. The almost comic book style worship to Montgomery Clift in The Right Profile delivers most enjoyably.
Unfortunately, spoiling what could've been a truly great album, the last few songs trail and tail away, particularly the embarrassing 60s TV style Lovers Rock. Only Train In Vain is really worth listening to.
Overall, the blend and enthusiasm of London Calling makes it a truly worthy album.