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131 of 139 found the following review helpful:
here's my probably useless "Sandinista" storyAug 21, 2004
A few of the reviewers here said that the best way to enjoy "Sandinista" was to download the album and pick out your favorite songs, and then put it onto one CD. That'd make "Sandinista" more consise, more penetrable, and generally more better.
Having a subscription to an mp3 service, I downloaded the entire album anxiously. About a month before, I bought "London Calling" and became addicted -- and I wanted to see how the Clash could mess up so badly in only a year's time ("Sandinista" was released a year after "London Calling").
When all of the tracks were finally downloaded, I began listening to them, one by one.
First track -- Magnificent Seven. Initial reaction? "...wow. This is... amazing! But then again, everyone said it was one of the GOOD tracks, so I guess it's not that much of a surprise."
Second track -- Hitsville UK. "..I've never really heard anything like this before. A woman singing in a Clash song? Who is she? I like her voice. ...this is pretty catchy. Like really catchy. Um, yep, I like this song too."
Next up -- Junco Partner. Knowing in advance that not much was said about this track, I expected it to be one of the "bad" songs/experiments. Initial reaction? "...hey! This is the Clash doing reggae again, like on 'London Calling'! I like the little violin touches. And what is that? A keyboard? Or a toy piano? Whatever it is, it sounds cool."
And so on and so on. I think you get the idea.
I ended up liking every song, actually. I'm not exaggerating because I'm trying to be some demented Clash fanboy or something -- every single track on "Sandinista" is at the very least interesting. It never, ever bores me. If the music is somewhat lacking on a given track, the lyrics make up for it. And vice versa. Most of the time, like on "Somebody Got Murdered" or "Magnificent Seven," the lyrics and the music are both equally excellent.
I mean, really -- the entire first disc is a great album on it's own as it is. While some might think it's redundant to have "One More Dub" next to the original version, it's just like one whole song to me, both of them. And seeing how it's really not that bad of a song to begin with, I actually like having the dub right next to the original version.
The second half of disc two gets even more wildly experimental -- and I will admit it's the part I listen to the least. Even still, when I do listen to the various dubs and backwards tracks and songs like "Junkie Slip" on that portion of the disc, I always find myself interested in the sonic detail and what not of the songs. And the child-friendly version of "Career Opportunities" is fantastic.
See how long my review is already? I guess I'll stop now for your sake. But realize that because of my love for this album, I could write dozens and dozens of more pages about it.
One last thing: I just wanted to thank a few of the reviewers on here who gave the album a negative review. You guys/girls piqued my curosity enough to find out for myself if it was good or not. And, I must say, it's good. Quite good indeed.
41 of 43 found the following review helpful:
a sprawling masterpeiceDec 23, 2005
By sgt. pepper
While not as "Rocking" or accessable as London Calling (new Clash fans should definatly check out that album first), Sandanista! is a 2 hour and 30 minute long sprawling masterpeice.
Some argue that this album is 2/5th great material and the rest is filler. Those people don't know good music if it bites them.
On this album the Clash explore all forms of music, including hip-hop, disco/dance, jazz, calipso, gospel, waltz, and of course, the usual dose of punk, rock, ska and raggae. This album is a journey. Longer, more varied and, at times, more fun than the Beatles "White Album" (and this album ranks up there with some of the Beatle's best). Will you like the album at first? Hmm, probably not. It takes repeated listens to appreciate the way The Clash cram hundreds of hooks and melodies into a single track.
The Magnifigant 7 - A hip-hop dance number with GREAT lyrics. One of the best bass lines I've ever heard by Paul Simonon, and try not laughing when Strummer screams, "CHEESEBOIGER!"
Hitsville U.K. - Starts like a gospel song, but quickly transforms into a singalong with some catchy-as-hell melodies. Note: the woman singing this song is Clash guitarist Mick Jone's exgirlfriend, Ellen Foley, who also song the epic Meatloaf song "Paradie By The Dashboard Light"
Junco Partner - Great reggea flavored track, with some of the oddest sound effects dancing all over the place. Makes for a very odd and entertaining song.
Ivan Meets G.I. Joe - This song is literally a disco song being played over a futuristic war land. Laser sounds fill the air as drummer Topper Headen sings of a galactic showdown between "ivan" and "g.i.joe" (metaphores, you can figure it out)
The Leader - The first (almost traditional)Clash rocker. Fast & quick.
Something About England - A very lyrical one, with an interesting story behind it.
Rebel Waltz - A waltz in.. yep, 3/4ths time. Begins with a chamber music-esuque instrumental, and turns into a touching song.
Look Here - A dip into Jazz for the Clash. Paul Simonon nails the "walking bassline", and the piano is wonderfully jazzy.
The Crooked Beat - Paul Simonon's song. Very strange, as Paul does his traditional "talk-singing". It's a dub flavored reggae, probably the weakest track on the album, but still enjoyable.
Somebody Got Murdered - a REAL rocker. More rock than punk i'd say. A fast catchy tune, with very affecting lyrics. Jones practically whispers over the loud guitars, "somebody got murdered.. somebody's dead forever."
One More Time - a darker reggae song.
One More Time Dub - a dub version of the latter. (Dub basically just entails an instrumental with reverb slapped all over the place, and echoing snare and hi-hat).
Lightening Strikes - Another hip-hop dance track in the vein of "Magnifigant 7". Lots of references to New York city.
Up In Heaven - An overlooked gem. Great rocker.
Corner Soul - another excellent track. While not really reggae at all, it sounds very... let's say.. babylon-esque.
Let's Go Crazy - a great tropical song with steel drums. "So ya wanna go crazy!?"
If Music Could Talk - A jazzy reggae number, with a wonderful sax solo. There are 2 vocal tracks, one in each channel (left and right).
The Sound of the Sinners - a gospel song! and a GREAT gospel song, in which the religious meaning comes off NOT being lame or cheesy.
Police on my Back - a cover, but done SOO well. A true punk rocker, The most rocking thing on the album. The lead guitar sounds like sirens, and Jones gives a remarkable vocal performance, literally spitting the phrase "what have i done!?"
Midnight Log - cool song. short and catchy, with great lyrics.
The Equaliser - very reverby, and sound effect coated. but a great sonf.
The Call Up - a cool steady beat throughout. one of the highlight songs. "it's up to you not to hear the call up, i don't wanna die... i don't wanna kill."
Washington Bullets - possibly the peak of the album. great lyrics, very political. Spanish and tropical flavored. The best moment comes at 2:40 in, when, in his sweetest voice, Strummer proclaims "saaaandanista!" and a wave of cheering and clapping insues.
Broadway - This is quite a song. In my opinion it sounds a song U2 could easily cover. Strummer gives a wonderful lyrical performance. With one hoarse "yeeeah" he can make your hair stand on end.
Lose This Skin - a classical flavored song, full of violins. Sounds like its from the early 1900's classical era. Written by Tymon Dogg, who sings and plays violin throughout the album.
Charlie Don't Surf - one of the best on the album. the effects give it this beauitful shining underwater sound. The melody is absolutly beautiful. The drums kick in with a "surf" beat, common in "surf rock". Great lyrics too, about the US spreading western ways where people don't want them (charlie = the enemy, charlie don't surf and we thing he should.. hu hu?)
Mensforth Hill - "something about england" played backwards. but also filled with sound effects and talking, in the vein of the beatles "Revolution 9". at some parts, it sounds exactly like "dark side of the moon", specifically "on the run".
well, i'm tired of writing now, but the rest of the songs are great too, though, i admit i wish the album ended with a real good song instead of an instrumental. but, its still a masterpice by one of the greatest bands of all time.
27 of 29 found the following review helpful:
Overreaching, but never overblownApr 04, 2000
When "Sandinista" was released as a 3-vinyl-LP set at the close of 1980, I was a high-schooler beset with idealistic notions about the power of punk. Listening to its array of styles, innovations and insights, I thought this album would surely erase the shadow of the '60s and herald an era of uncompromising cultural progress.
Today, high-schoolers who see Ringo Starr on ads for investment firms have no idea who Joe Strummer is, and people long ago stopped allowing LPs/CDs to make a significant impression on their sensibilities. If "Sandinista" influenced anything, it was probably the already-emerging popularity of rap and world music.
That said, "The Leader", "Corner Soul", "Somebody Got Murdered", "If Music Could Talk," and "Charlie Don't Surf" are among the most literate songs composed in the last 20 years and represent only a small fraction of the astounding collection of songs and sounds in "Sandinista". If nothing else, the Clash are able to present a snapshot of disorder and potential in widescreen deep-focus. Each character, from the homeless vet in "Something About England" to the ravaged spiritual seeker in "Sound of the Sinners", seems fully drawn. Each beat, riff and dub seems carefully considered and flawlessly executed. Each cut still seems to hold some ground.
Maybe that's why this album was not received with widespread acclaim 20 years ago-- it was just too overwhelming. When the Clash returned a year and a half later, they won their audience with "Rock the Casbah" and "Should I Stay...", but didn't have it in them to paint another picture of such stunning depth.
14 of 15 found the following review helpful:
Not for everyone, but definitely for meOct 10, 2002
P>Now, onto the album itself:
I can't claim to know whether or not it represents musical genius or is subtle and nuanced or any other such thing, but I can tell you this: I like it. A lot. As much as London Calling.
The tracks are extremely diverse (of course), but the point is, they WORK. Some are mad dancy fun, like Look Here, Let's Go Crazy, Police on my Back, and The Sound of Sinners. Some are deep and soulful, including Corner Soul ("Is the music calilng for a river of blood?"), Charlie Dont Search and Something about England, while others, such as Rebel Waltz and Washington Bullets, are (in different ways) light and melodic. Meanwhile The Magnificent Seven and The Call Up evoke the anger present on the (British version of) the self-titled.
I think my favorite thing about Sandinista! is the stories told by many of the songs and the images they invoke. Something About England makes a social statement but also feels like an urban fantasy a la Neil Gaiman or Charles de Lint, while Rebel Waltz has the feel of a traditional fantasy or historical novel; you actually begin to care about the fate of the rebel army and see them "dancing to the news that the war is not won." Let's Go Crazy, meanwhile...well, this one you really have to hear to understand.
What it comes down to is this: This album can make for a wonderful listening experience, but it isn't for everyone. If you're into the Clash cause you're a HardKore Punk Rawk type (insert additional x's and k's as needed), then this probably isn't for you (or maybe it is, and it'll help you snap out of it). Otherwise, give it a try, and don't give up after the first listen; let it grow on you. If nothing else it's not that expensive, and it'll complete your Clash collection.
17 of 19 found the following review helpful:
Revolution and how!May 28, 2002
Even tho London Calling came out first, it was Sandinista that I first heard, at a friend's home. Having been exposed to The Clash's punk blasts of their earlier days a few times, I was amazed at the difference in the sound. After I got Sandinista and listened to it more carefully on my own, I was further amazed at how brilliant it was, period. The material on Disc 1 and the first third of Disc 2 is almost as strong as London Calling. It is only on the last two-thirds of Disc 2, originally the third vinyl record of a three-album set, that there is a severe letdown, with repetition and weird, cacophonous sound effects. But forget this part--focus on the rest.
Both London Calling and Sandinista employ many different musical styles, but while London Calling has the edge in power, Sandinista is more imaginative. Furthermore, as good as the music on Sandinista is, it is the compelling atmosphere of the songs that is its crowning achievement, even its genius. The eccentric "Junco Partner" is the most amusing reggae I have ever heard, and the calypso "Let's Go Crazy" is fabulous. The pretty "Rebel Waltz" and its harpsichord overlays are an interesting variation on the theme of revolution. Sandinista has its share of power workouts too, including the vibe-laden "Hitsville U.K.," in which Mick Jones's girlfriend Ellen Foley joins him to create a single-voice-effect harmony, as well as "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe," with its neat video game/space battle background, and "The Sound of the Sinners," with its zippy acoustic guitar and great sarcasm. But there are also songs in the London Calling knock-em-out vein: "The Leader," "Police on My Back," "Midnight Log," and the album's strongest entries: "Somebody Got Murdered" and "Up in Heaven." Some of the longer, atmospheric tracks, such as the funky "Lighting Strikes" and "The Equaliser," seem to drag on, but the musical background is always interesting. Don't forget the lyrics: the at once melodramatic and mournful "One More Time" is a highly evocative, reggae-style demand for ghetto justice, and "Something About England" should be listened to carefully. Lastly, "Washington Bullets," one of the best tracks, is effectively the title cut, and based on what I just stated, it is not hard to figure out what it is about.
On London Calling, The Clash's music was eclectic within the bounds of their newly found more palatable but still dynamic sound. On Sandinista, they went beyond themselves to produce their most innovative, imaginative, and atmospheric work. Ultimately, there is more diversity of music on Sandinista, not counting the last part (which doesn't count anyway). Sandinista was, well, revolutionary.
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