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iTunes Review

In 1980, The Clash named this 36-song album after Nicaraguan insurgents, experimented with disparate genres and sonic abstractions, and refused to edit themselves. Yet their punk spirit is alive throughout—from the organ-drenched gospel of “The Sound of Sinners” to the Dadaist noise collage “Silicone on Sapphire” to ambient dub blast “The Crooked Beat.” “Police on My Back” is straight-up punk-in-the-streets, and “Hitsville U.K.” is Euro-pop pretty. There’s even a jazz cover (Mose Allison’s “Look Here”). The album reveals a great band brave enough to fail, although they come out heroes.

Customer Reviews

Guero de Blanco

I was shocked to see there aren't any reviews of Sandinista. This is the Clash's masterpiece second only to London Calling. Charlie don't Surf, Police on my back, the Crooked Beat and many more are standouts but it is the whole composition that is the true reward.

Not their best

Some consider “Sandinista” to be the Clash’s “White Album.” And some consider it a sloppy, overproduced mess. I tend to lean towards the latter. You could put together a very respectable Clash anthology without including a single song from this album (with the exception of “The Magnificent Seven,” of course).

That said, for $16.99, you could probably find enough songs out of the 36 on offer here to justify the purchase.

There are certainly great songs on this album: “The Crooked Beat,” “The Sound of Sinners,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Lighting Strikes,” “Charlie Don’t Surf,” “Rebel Waltz,” “The Equalizer,” all come to mind.

There are also a lot of forgettable, mediocre songs: “Police on My Back,” “Somebody Got Murdered,” “Hitsville UK,” “Something About England,” “Up In Heaven,” “Corner Soul,” etc.

And then there are some (“Lose This Skin,” “Washington Bullets,” “Kingston Advice”) that are just unlistenable, Godawful crap.

There is some truly challenging stuff, like the musique concrete inspired “Mensforth Hill,” or the last song “Shepherd’s Delight,” which one must give props for just for the outside-ness of it all.

But the problem with “Sandinista” is that it is essentially a period piece: covering the Reagan/Thatcher era of the very early 80’s. Time has not been very kind to it; this album sounds very dated. Songs like “When Ivan Meets G.I. Joe” seem hilariously antiquated today; even “The Call-Up” sounds like it was from the distant past.

The influence of ska legend Mikey Dread is prevalent, and if you’re a fan of dub reggae, then that might be a plus towards getting this album. Of all the “world beat” flavors, it’s dub reggae that’s the most front-and-center. Sometimes it works (”The Crooked Beat”), and sometimes it doesn’t.

Bottom line: if you’re new to The Clash – get the first album or “London Calling.” Or both.


How does one write a review of an album in which they were 3 years old when it came out? I was too young to know what was going on so I won't try to go back. This album is amazing and a portrait of the time it was recorded in. Can't we let it go at that? Not to be judged unless you were there and were involved. I wasn't, but I know this is a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ album. It's true artistry at its finest. Music made for them, by them, that they were happy with, with no worry as to how it would be received by everyone else, because in art do reviews even matter? If you get it? You get it.


Formed: 1976 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

The Sex Pistols may have been the first British punk rock band, but the Clash were the definitive British punk rockers. Where the Pistols were nihilistic, the Clash were fiery and idealistic, charged with righteousness and a leftist political ideology. From the outset, the band was more musically adventurous, expanding its hard rock & roll with reggae, dub, and rockabilly among other roots musics. Furthermore, they were blessed with two exceptional songwriters in Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, each...
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