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The Singles

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Album Review

The Singles is exactly what the title says — a collection of the Clash's U.K. single A-sides. This approach can hardly result in a definitive compilation, since the Clash's albums were such cohesive, important works in their own right, and even more erratic LPs like Sandinista! and Combat Rock had their share of fine album tracks. Nevertheless, the collection does have some value, particularly for more casual fans who don't want to spend the time or money sifting through those uneven albums. And because the best way to hear the Clash is on their original albums, The Singles can also be useful for fans who already own those albums and don't want to purchase the three-disc Clash on Broadway, thereby duplicating a good portion of their collection. The Singles does illustrate the progression of the Clash's music from raw, energetic punk to eclectic dabblings in rockabilly, reggae, and dance-rock (even if it doesn't do so as seamlessly as London Calling), and so far, it is the only single-disc Clash comp to feature the original version of the non-LP single "Bankrobber" (the one on Super Black Market Clash is a dub version with most of the lyrics missing). So, the utility of The Singles all depends on how deeply you want to dig into the Clash, and how much tolerance you have for duplication in the compilations necessary for supplementing the original albums (if your tolerance is high, stick with the more thorough Clash on Broadway).

The Singles, The Scabs
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