The Clash - Sandinista! (Cover Artwork)

The Clash

The Clash: Sandinista!Sandinista! (1980)
The Clash

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: ChrisGorman2Chris Gorman
(others by this writer | submit your own)

"Sandinista!" is considered by many to be a great rock record, a landmark album by one of the 20th century's greatest bands. However, the majority of critics consider this record a mistake, a creative misstep by a band that got too big for its britches. I would have to take the middle road on this. .
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"Sandinista!" is considered by many to be a great rock record, a landmark album by one of the 20th century's greatest bands. However, the majority of critics consider this record a mistake, a creative misstep by a band that got too big for its britches. I would have to take the middle road on this. The Clash are my favorite band after all, and there are many great tunes on this album. However, there are also many clunkers and this record can be hard to get through, even after a couple of sittings.

"Sandinista!" came on the heals of the fantastic "London Calling", an album that even today sounds fresh and vibrant. After the success of "London Calling", an incredibly diverse album musically, The Clash decided to try and move away from straight punk and incorporate a bevy of influences and styles. "Sandinista!" is a sprawling, epic work, covering 3 records (2 CDs). Name a musical style, and it is covered on this album, with varying degrees of success. Ska, punk, reggea, R&B, funk, rap, and even a childrens choir meld into a sonic quagmire of a recording, that can be entertaining, challenging and sometimes, downright annoying.

The album starts off strong with the funk/pop number "The Magnificent 7", a good song that goes about 2 minutes too long. "Hitsville UK", "Ivan Meets GI Joe" and "Something About England" are all great songs in their own right, and they give the listener hope for a few more solid tracks. However, the band finds itself getting muddled in half-hearted dub and reggea, and its makes for an almost brain-deadening listen. "Crooked Beat" and "One More Dub" are perhaps two of the worst songs ever recorded by the band. Beyond this point, its almost impossible to care about this album, although bright spots like "Police on My Back" and "Charlie Don't Surf" make the experience a little better. The album comes to a close, not with a bang per se, but with at least a pop. The overly-long "Version Pardner" is listenable, the children singing "Career Opportunities" is tacky and "Shepards Delight" leaves me feeling just sort of impartial.

All in all, "Sandinista" is worth the price of the album for the few good songs. A true Clash fan should have this album in their collection, if not for love of the music, then out of principle. While the music is often misguided and boring, The Clash were one of the bravest bands, and still certainly one of the most important. Even today, bands like Rancid still channel this album in their own music (Rancid's "Life Wont Wait" not only sounds like "Sandinista" but it also references it quite a bit). So pick it up, its worth it just to have it.


People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - London CallingThe Clash - The ClashThe Clash - Combat RockJoe Strummer and The Mescaleros - StreetcoreThe Clash - Give 'Em Enough RopeOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!NOFX - The Decline

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Goatseboy (June 6, 2011)

Sandinista is excellent. It's brave, and a bit cocky, but it has some fucking awesome songs on it that make it the second best clash album, and one of the best albums ever on it

mechpope13 (November 28, 2007)

this review sucks. First 'Crooked Beat' is a great song. Second this is probably the second best clash album.

TheMike (February 26, 2007)

I only got a hold of this today and was surprised by how great it really is. I'm never listening to people on the internet again!

maxethunders (January 26, 2007)

Sandinista! came out because The Clash realized they could do anything with their music and people would still like. Plus they probably pissed off the label and since it sold they couldn't say anything about it.

Osloboditelj (September 12, 2006)

When trimmed down to a 15 song playlist, this album is perhaps the Clash's best. In its entirety, it's a curiosity, but still great.

ABedForLiars (September 2, 2006)

The 'actual' songs on this release is great, but most of the experiments they could've done without. Even Joe said so.

Anonymous (July 12, 2006)

I don't understand how people can love Combat Rock but hate this album. It's basically an expanded version of Combat Rock.

Mr_Streetcore (July 3, 2006)

one of their beast albumns and knocked a bit too much this is an albumn that was considered by kerrang as shit compared to amercan idiot by green day what the fuck? at least sandinista has a variety of genres within its tracks. junco partner and police on my back would be my favourites on this albumn

Anonymous (June 23, 2006)

forgot to rate the album

Anonymous (June 23, 2006)

Every Clash album deserves 10 out of 10, except Give 'Em Enough Rope which deserves a 9 and Cut the Crap which deserves 0.

Anonymous (June 19, 2005)

I love the Clash. I hate sandanista. They pretty much took a big boring dump and decided to record it. Granted, there are some good songs but by surrounding them with garbage it seems to water down the enjoyment of the good songs. The Clash should have cut the crap (hehe) and made a decent 10 to 15 song album that didn't cost and arm and a leg and moved on. Thank god for Combat Rock.

magnificent7 (February 18, 2004)

i agree with the guy below me, Washington Bullets is amazing. Just like the rest of the album, yeh there are a few songs that the album could do without but songs like, the leader, the call up, magnificent 7 are just brilliant. And to think they released this album at the price of a single.

rootsradical (May 31, 2003)

Wshington Bullets is one of the best songs ever. But I agree, the majority of the album is boring. What the fuck is with the gospel tune at the end of the first disc?

Anonymous (January 9, 2003)

When you see how this was recorded, it makes sense that there are some sub-par songs. They just rolled the tape and played, and any song they finisdhed went on the album. Yoy have to give them credit, the album is a showcase of their diversity and range as musicians. There has been nothing like this released by any band since, and I doubt there ever will be.

seek (September 6, 2001)

This may be their worst release, but it is better than most anything people come up with today. Crooked Beat sucks ass, but "One More Dub" is a great track, half-hearted my ass. 3 discs at the price of 1? No one can bitch about this. 7/10

Anonymous (September 5, 2001)

If your going to listen to the Clash get S/t, Give 'em enough rope, and London Calling before anything else.

sickboi (September 5, 2001)

I'm not a big fan of this album, but how can you reference Rancid's "Life Won't Wait" in the same aspect. Thats album is incredible. People always shit on it. I think I need to review that next.

Anonymous (September 5, 2001)

'Magnificent 7' breaks out the funk! gotta give em props for trying new stuff and expanding their sound. however, albums like this and 'combat rock' scrape the bottom of the clash ocean.- fathead

Anonymous (September 5, 2001)

I completely agree with this review, so there's nothing much else to add. When it is good it is very very good and when it is bad it is nasty.

Anonymous (September 5, 2001)

I cant believe people haven't commented on this one

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