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Editors’ Notes

Sandinista! is what happens when a band is brave enough to fail — and then turns that failure inside out. At 36 tracks it's messy, brilliant, gorgeous, infuriating, necessary, and one would expect nothing less (and God help us, nothing more) from "the only band that matters." Dipping their fingers in every musical pie from gospel ("The Sound of Sinners") to disco ("Lightning Strikes"), Europop ("Hitsville U.K.") to Dadaist noise collage ("Silicone On Sapphire"), the Clash refused to edit themselves, named the album in tribute to Nicaraguan insurgents, and thumbed their noses at the expectations of fans and critics alike. The conventional wisdom is that there's a solid single album inside Sandinista!, just waiting to be let out. Don't believe it. There are some real missteps, but every last track is at the very least interesting: lyrically, musically, or just in terms of the sonic furniture. Trying to cherry-pick "the good ones" runs contrary to the messy, democratic spirit of the whole project. And besides, one person's necessity is another's throwaway is another's guilty pleasure. Just let go of all expectations, embrace the chaos, and actually listen.

Customer Reviews

Let it ride

This album is epic when to be listened to in it's entirety on on the drive on a surf/fishing trip down the baja on a cassette tape of the original vinyl. It's quirky, unexpected, loose and lazy, unpredictable nature is the soundtrack of that type of adventure. Driving in the bus or sitting in camp with not a care in the world listening to this, you just feel cooler than everyone else in the world. This does not translate on ITunes.

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.

Sprawling but inconsistent

Coming on the heels of London Calling, it would be nearly impossible to maintain that standard. They didn't, but there is some great music within this 3-record set. Unfortunately it is spread out among some weak and nearly unlistenable material. Even so, purchase it for $16.99 and pare it down to a strong 75 minutes or so of innovative cross-genre rock and roll!


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,...
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