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04.13.21 Third Time's The Charm03.31.21 Suspected Bootlegs From eBay-Land
03.29.21 What To Review Next03.10.21 'London Calling' Ranked
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'London Calling' Ranked

One of the best albums in punk rock history, and an enduring masterpiece over 40 years after its release, The Clash's London Calling is considered by many to be stellar from top to bottom. But is it really? And what songs can stake a claim to being the best of the best? Read on and find out!
19The Clash
London Calling


The Card Cheat

The only outright poor song on the album, this ungainly, messy Bowie/Queen/T-Rex soundalike is every bit as cringey as the concept of a punk band unironically attempting to write a glitter/glam rock anthem might indicate. Turgid.
18The Clash
London Calling


I'm Not Down

So throwaway and forgettable even most fans will probably not remember it exists, this bog-standard Clash album cut will go in one ear and out the other, leaving no lasting impression on the listener whatsoever.
17The Clash
London Calling


Train In Vain

This barely two-minute-long slab of...something was originally a bonus track, having been officially added to the tracklist only after the fact, in time for the album's numerous re-issues - and it definitely shows. While undoubtedly charming, the song is not particularly memorable or in any way exciting, ultimately serving as just another fair-to-middling track in the already padded final third of the album.
16The Clash
London Calling


Lovers Rock

And speaking of 'just another fair-to-middling track', this cut fits that description to a T. While undeniably more appealing than its surrounding fare, at least upon first contact, the song ultimately adds nothing new to the table, settling for reusing motifs from other (better) songs on the album, and letting the runtime extend a little further than would have been ideal, resulting in a feeling of repetition. Not a bad track by any means - just not a particularly good one, either.
15The Clash
London Calling


The Right Profile

The one weaker song on the otherwise stellar first half of the album, this track has the right idea compositionally speaking, but buries it under a cluttered and unpleasant arrangement, which ultimately detracts from its effectiveness. Even still, it is at least memorable, which is more than can be said for most of the lower-seeded cuts on this list.
14The Clash
London Calling


Four Horsemen

Comfortably a top 3 song as far as the back half of the album is concerned, this is a fun, typically Clash-y ditty, which corrects some of the flaws of its immediate predecessor (the length, for starters) while retaining others (the re-hashing of ideas from elsewhere on the album.) On average, it does just enough to edge out all but two of the songs that surround it, but never even threatens to touch any of the genuinely inspired tracks on the album, settling for a 'best of the worst' position which, while perhaps not quite flattering, is not particularly damning either.
13The Clash
London Calling


Brand New Cadillac

If Four Horsemen is ‘the best of the worst’, Koka Kola is ‘the worst of the best’. A decent slice of acerbic pop-punk, it nevertheless fails to pack as much of a punch as what came before it, effectively standing as the watershed track of the album.
12The Clash
London Calling


Brand New Cadillac

On most other albums, this fun and memorable two-minute slice of pure rockabilly would be an easy standout; on London Calling, however, it does not QUITE measure up to its surrounding tracks, thus becoming one of two perfectly worthy songs to just miss out on a Top 10 spot.
11The Clash
London Calling


Spanish Bombs

The OTHER worthy song to barely miss the Top 10. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly keeps this one on the bottom half of this list, but when compared to the tracks on the actual Top 10, it’s just as easy to see how it might fall just short – it’s not so much a question of this song doing anything wrong as the other songs doing nearly everything right.
10The Clash
London Calling


Clampdown

Another track which starts off memorable and appealing enough, only to wear out its welcome ever so slightly towards the end. It does, however, do enough up until then to ingratiate itself with the listener, and earn itself the bottom spot in a hard-fought Top 10 selection.
9The Clash
London Calling


Jimmy Jazz

Boasting the third in a trio of impactful opening lines on the album, this jazzy ska number falters only in its final stretch, when it runs a little overlong (an issue which plagues several of the songs on this album.) Even still, a definite Top 10 contender, if only on the bottom half.
8The Clash
London Calling


Death or Glory

Once again, the placement of this track comes down to some stiff competition, as opposed to anything it does particularly wrong. It’s a fantastic track, defiant, brash and with a memorable chorus; in the toss-up that is the lower half of this Top 10, however, it gets edged out – if only just – by a couple of other songs, justifying its inclusion only at number 8.
7The Clash
London Calling


Guns of Brixton

Proud owner of the most defiantly in-your-face opening line this side of the Sex Pistols, Paul Simonon’s only vocal contribution to the album is another contender in the Great Top 10 Toss-Up Competition, where it ends up edging out a couple of tracks, but not quite presenting enough arguments to tussle with the top dogs – thus slotting in at a dignified seventh position on the list.
6The Clash
London Calling


Lost in the Supermarket

A perfect pop song with decidedlypunk lyrics, Supermarket is both one of the most instantly appealing and enduringly memorable tracks on the record. The problem? There are five others which have those attributes, relegating it to an ever-frustrating ‘sixth out of five’ position.
5The Clash
London Calling


Revolution Rock

Yet another track afflicted by the Curse of the Overlong Coda (there is no reason at all for this to be over four minutes long, let alone almost five), this reggae cover nevertheless cancels out that one flaw by doing everything else absolutely fantastically, making it not only far and away the best song on the otherwise dreary back half of the album, but a top 5 cut for the entire record. Not bad for a cultural appropriation attempt by a bunch of white Brits.
4The Clash
London Calling


Hateful

A fantastic dub song in its own right, Hateful once again suffers mainly from being up against such distinguished opponents, just missing out on a much-coveted spot in the Top 3. Make no mistake, however – this is absolutely a great song, with one of the most effective choruses in the entire album to top it off.
3The Clash
London Calling


Rudie Can’t Fail

Speaking of great choruses, meet the biggest earworm in the entire record. Rudie’s chorus wiggles its way into the listener’s brain and refuses to leave for days, if not weeks. The best part being, the rest of the song is just as catchy, and bound to get even the most unsuspecting of punkers swaying and bopping across their living room right from the intro riff. Absolutely a top 3 contender, and a strong candidate for the number 2 spot on any given day.
2The Clash
London Calling


Wrong ‘Em Boyo

Speaking of songs which will get listeners bopping, this is another one which will at least make even the most reluctant feet shuffle with its ska beat, infectious vocal lines, snarky lyrics and shout-ready chorus. Along with Rudie, Hateful and the cover of Revolution Rock, it is proof positive that yes, white boys CAN skank – and do it just as well as any West Indian. A strong candidate for best song on the album, were it not for…
1The Clash
London Calling


London Calling

To put it bluntly, London Calling does everything right. From its memorable intro line (which loses out only to Guns of Brixton in that department) to its catchy staccato riff to the meaningfully acerbic lyrics, this is as perfect an encapsulation of The Clash’s style as anyone is likely to find – and one of the best songs of the entire original wave of British punk rock. A triumph through and through, and well worth its hard-fought spot at the head of what is a stellar list from top to (almost) bottom.
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