London Calling and Opinions on Keith Richards & Disclosure

London Calling

London Calling, the double album masterpiece by British punk band The Clash, recently celebrated its 35th anniversary. Jim and Greg pay it tribute with a Classic Album Dissection. Then they review the new albums by electronic duo Disclosure and rock icon Keith Richards.

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Pope Francis just completed his first sold-out tour of the United States. Now you can own your own souvenir, as the Pope is putting out a pop album called Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward! To Greg, the record has a progressive rock feel, falling somewhere between Yes and Yanni. Jim notes that the Pope wasn’t exactly in the studio laying down some tasty licks, as producer Don Giulio Neroni arranged the music around Francis’ famous speeches. If the Pope is trying to speak directly to the population, a pop album isn’t a bad way to do it.

This week, Taylor Swift’s album 1989 charted its 48th week on Billboard, and one musician is riding the coattails of that success. Alt country singer Ryan Adams released a track for track cover of 1989 and received more attention than ever. Jim thinks that without Swift’s songs, there’s no way Adams would be on the Billboard charts. He also references an article highlighting the mansplaining idea that people can only realize the strength of Swift’s songwriting when a white male performs the tracks. Greg thinks that Adams is doing some solid marketing, as his music hasn’t been relevant in 15 years. What do you think of Adams’ covers? Let us know!

London Calling

London Calling

Next up is a patented Sound Opinions Classic Album Dissection – this time of one of the greatest double albums of rock history: London Calling by The Clash, which recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of its US release. London Calling represented a huge leap forward for the English band. All four members seemed to be at their peak during writing and recording: Joe Strummer on rhythm guitar and vocals, Mick Jones on lead guitar and vocals, Paul Simonon on bass and Nicky Topper Headon on drums. They were paired with the unconventional Guy Stevens and engineer Bill Price and were able to draw from a variety of influences – reggae, ska, rockabilly, and jazz – all layered on their particular brand of punk rock. The songwriting partnership of Strummer and Jones was at its high point. Jim and Greg are both moved by Strummer’s lyrics, which demonstrate a very sophisticated worldview. To demonstrate the greatness of London Calling, they play two standout tracks: Spanish Bombs and Clampdown.

Settle Disclosure

Caracal (Deluxe)

With their 2013 release Settle, the British electronic duo Disclosure seemed destined to take EDM and mainstream pop by storm. They certainly pushed Sam Smith into the stratosphere. Then came a successful collaboration with Mary J. Blige on 2014’s The London Sessions. But, Jim and Greg were disappointed to hear the new album Caracal is something of a let down. It’s more song-focused, but also more star-focused with guest vocals by Lorde and The Weeknd. Jim and Greg have heard better from Howard and Guy Lawrence and these guest stars. Caracal gets a double Trash It.

Crosseyed Heart Keith Richards

Crosseyed Heart

Keith Richards is, at times, more of a myth than a man. His riffs are legendary, and his ability to survive his own rock lifestyle is almost supernatural. But his new solo effort, Crosseyed Heart, is an opportunity to show the real Keith, grit and all. The bare-bones production style is admirable, as are personal tracks like Amnesia, which references his 2006 brain surgery. But, for the most part, this is Keith-by-numbers, nothing great. So Greg says Try It. Jim thinks he’s being kind and can’t understand why anyone would need to sample this record, let alone own it. He notes that The Rolling Stones, solo and together, have been letting us down three times longer than they were good! When they were good, they were very good. But this record ain’t that. Trash It, says Jim.

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