The Clash - Combat Rock (Cover Artwork)

The Clash

The Clash: Combat RockCombat Rock (1982)
The Clash

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: Clash City Rocker
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Clash is my favorite band. This is the band that got me into punk rock and will always hold a special place in my heart. I had previously owned every single Clash record except this one, and finally saved up the 7 dollars so I could buy it. I have listened to it many times, but I still don't k.

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The Clash is my favorite band. This is the band that got me into punk rock and will always hold a special place in my heart. I had previously owned every single Clash record except this one, and finally saved up the 7 dollars so I could buy it. I have listened to it many times, but I still don't know if I like it.

The album opens with "Know Your Rights", which has some great lines such as "you have the right to free speech, just as long as you're not dumb enough to use it". The music isn't great, but the lyrics are nothing short of brilliant.

Then comes "Car Jamming" which I hated at first, but has slowly become one of my favorite songs on the album. Its very catchy, but you have to be into reggae stuff to like it.

"Should I Stay Or Should I Go" is 3rd, and is one of The Clash's more famous songs. It reminded me of "Train In Vain" on London Calling, and is an awesome song.

The next song "Rock The Casbah" disgusts me. It just makes me sick. Its the kind of song that they play on Soft Rock radio, and I think they do play this on soft rock radio, you know, that station that your mom listens to. Ugh.

"Red Angel Dragnet" is almost equally as bad but in a different way. I really cant explain it, its just...really hard to listen to.

Now for my favorite song on the album, "Straight To Hell". It is great. A Vietnam song, and is sad and brilliant, a great great song, among the best The Clash have ever done.

"Overpowered By Funk" is an embarressment, but kind of fun to listen to. Lines like "If you ain't reggae for it, FUNK OUT!" dominate this song, and its an odd funk/reggae song, but a good clean listen none the less.

The rest of the songs arent memorable, but are pretty good. This CD has some great songs, some terrible songs, some medicore songs, and is good for serious Clash fans like myself, but casual fans should definatly check out their self-titled album and "Give 'Em The Rope" before this one.


People who liked this also liked:
The Clash - London CallingThe Clash - The ClashOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeJoe Strummer and The Mescaleros - StreetcoreRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesWeezer - WeezerThe Clash - Super Black Market Clash

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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.
samthecritic (August 19, 2010)

First half is great, second half is pretty much filler.

lovechuck (May 28, 2010)

this cd rocks fuck all these dumb cock sniffers with there fuckin opinions the can suck dick cheese off my foreskin...the clash fuckin rock now go sniff the shit stains in your mommys panties thorn boy!!!!!!

ThornBrain (October 16, 2009)

Let's get one thing clear right from the start: I hate "Should I Stay or Should I Go". Everything I liked about the Clash was dropped when Mick wrote this song. No energy; no remotely smart, meaningful or even likable lyrics; dumb-fuck guitars. This isn't a Clash song; it's something a songwriter would make for a talentless vocal pop singer. The only interesting part is Joe Strummer and guest Joe Ely singing in Spanish in the background, then screaming impromptu at Mick, leading to the infamous "Split!" bit. And, if you heard the original Rat Patrol mix, you'd understand why mixing them low pisses me off as well.
This song sucks.

And that's the worst thing I have to say about 'Combat Rock'.

'Combat Rock' is largely The Clash continuing from what they learned during Sandinista, stifled somewhat by Glyn Johns chopping Mick's original mix to make it more commercially palatable. The result is undoubtedly their weakest work up to that point, but I'd hardly call it a sellout effort (except for "Should I Stay"). The group still experiment with Reggae, Dub, Funk and the like, but it's less haphazard this time around. The thing is, that random experimentation was part of 'Sandinista's' charm. Not all of the material on 'Sandinista' was necessarily good, but focusing doesn't make all THIS material necessarily good either.

"Know Your Rights" certainly kicks things off in the right musical direction with its jittery, ska-punk. Lyrically, though, could Joe not have been more predictable with his writing? I know there's such a thing as passage of time, but it feels like this style of political irony was played out before 'Combat Rock' even came out. Feel free to correct me on that; nonetheless, the writing on this one just makes me roll my eyes.

Things look up more with "Car Jamming", one of three songs on 'Combat Rock' (the others being "Atom Tan" and "Inoculated City") that continues the Clash's less-edged punk pop that includes previous songs "Lost in the Supermarket" and "Somebody Got Murdered". "Lost in the Supermarket" took some getting used to for me, but I'm glad that, if they were to continue it, they got better at executing it. Sure, these three don't get as good as those two songs, but "Inoculated City" gets pretty close.

I should say now, "Should I Stay" and "Rock the Casbah" were one of the few early introductions to The Clash I had as I grew up. Considering how my tastes have expanded, I'm not surprised at how much I've come to hate "Should I Stay", but I'm kind of surprised at how much I like "Rock the Casbah". Let's not kid ourselves, "Rock the Casbah" is likely the most overplayed song the Clash ever made. It's also damn fun to listen to. The performance of the group practically demands that you move yourself to the rhythm. I'm actually pleasantly surprised to find that it was Topper Headon who did the bass and piano, in addition to his usual drums; it's a fantastically funky bass line, as is so with the piano. Also, I absolutely LOVE how Joe screams in this song; Nothing can make a song quite like when a singer gets into it. And what will always rank as one of the Clash's most epic (internet-slang and otherwise) moments is Joe's delivery of the line: "The crowd got a whiff / Of that crazy Casbah JIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!"

Paul Simonon writes his third reggae contribution to the Clash lexicon as "Red Angel Dragnet", a track inspired by the movie 'Taxi Driver' and the weakest song in its collection of Clash continuities. The musical performance is about as perfect as they could have played it, (I particularly like Topper's percussive "Boom!" throughout) but I really think Paul could have gotten into it more as a vocalist. It could be his accent, but his spoken-word delivery comes across as unsure. It's like someone pushed him out into a spotlight at a poetry club, and he only just showed up.

I shouldn't have to mention that "Straight to Hell" is one of Joe's most poignant, if not one of the Clash's best, songs, decrying numerous acts of injustice from immigrant alienation to abandoned Amerasian children. It holds no punches. Even Joe's delivery of the somewhat amusing lyric "It ain't Coca Cola / it's rice" leaves a more embittered sentiment than humorous. There's nothing wrong with this song.

The group continues their hip-hop explorations in "Overpowered by Funk", and it nails the fun side of funk through most of the song. Then, near the end, graffiti artist Futura 2000 leaves the song with a patheticly written spoken word segment. Gee, don't try at all, why don't you?

"Sean Flynn" took some getting used to. The sickeningly sweet jazz flute at the start caught me off-guard, though it gives the song more character than the saxophone does. I've always thought the Clash's attempted integration of saxophone into their songs was futile and misguided at best, as was the case with "Drug Stabbing Time" on 'Give 'Em Enough Rope'. It's still the case here; the performers just can't make it sound like it belongs anywhere else than a sitcom theme.

"Ghetto Defendant" might be the understated masterpiece of 'Combat Rock'. I definitely think poet Allen Ginsberg's vocals could have been mixed in better than just laying them on top (one thing the original 'Fort Patrol' mix did better), and Joe could have sung with less hiccups in the chorus (ANOTHER thing the original 'Fort Patrol' mix did better), but those are the only problems I have with the song. I particularly like how the chorus picks up in energy, and it doesn't even change the tempo.

'Combat Rock' closes on one of the Clash's strangest songs, "Death is a Star", a soft, airy, jazzy story about a phantom of death. It might not be the most "appropriate" way to end this era of the Clash, but look on the bright side; at least they ended with probably the only time they ever did a jazzy song well.

'Combat Rock' is certainly the Clash's most accessible record, and their weakest up to this point, but it has more merits than one looking in from the outside would expect. It's no work of greatness, but it deserves a chance. It's not like it'll really waste it by being hilariously silly and otherwise ridiculous.

*'Cut the Crap' reference, awesome face*

Beanstovi (June 23, 2009)

First off, review = shit
'A Vietnam song, and is sad and brilliant, a great great song'
'"Overpowered By Funk" is an embarressment, but kind of fun to listen to'
Either the reviewers first language was in fact Vietnamese, or he/she was under the age of 16. Anyway. I really liked this album. When I first listened to Combat Rock I was of course hit with Strummer declaring "This is a public service announcement...with GUI-TARS!" and I knew straight away this couldn't be bad. Just about every song delivers bar a couple of fillers, with Rock the Casbah and Straight to Hell being massive highlights for me (Probably my two favourite clash numbers in fact). Underrated.

415skunk (September 2, 2007)

dude, youŕe a fucking idiot. you claim to be the biggest clash fan there is then say you never listened to this album? you still don´t know if you like it? why review it?

this record kicks ass. and it makes perfect sense coming after sandanista. the clash evolved, and this is the epitome of their final evolution (excluding everything post-mick jones).

but it also makes sense that you knock it, because you´re a fucking moron.

discofucker (August 27, 2007)

Hahah, and "Give Em The Rope"?????? Dude, you fail.

discofucker (August 27, 2007)

Great album, terrible review. Score is for that.

How can you say a song is an embarassment and then say it is good, all in the same sentence?

maxethunders (May 3, 2007)

I like "Overpowered by Funk" and "Atom Tan" even the piano song at the end. This is the poppiest album they put out and yes it does take some getting used to. But if every album sounded the same you would all bitch cause it sounds the same.

ABedForLiars (September 2, 2006)

This album is beautiful, but not as great as their others.

Anonymous (June 6, 2006)

This deserves 10 out of 10. Fucking amazing album.

Anonymous (October 9, 2005)

Saves the day isn't punk. Punk isn't around anymore. It died awhile ago and bands just try to be punk. But punk was a 70's and early 80's thing. It's done now.

But great album. Score is for the album.

Anonymous (January 23, 2005)

ROFL!!!! excuse me... saves the day.... punk???.......................................................... ................................................................. ..............
if it werent for bands like sex pistols and the clash, saves the day werent even be around. before u comment sumthing really fucking stupid, wake up dude will you? Yeah, saves the day...that just made my day, you're such a comedian...that was funny...saves the day is one of the emoest shit out there, and youre trying to compare a emo band that it's not even good to begin with, to a punk rock legend such as the clash

Anonymous (October 25, 2004)

This record is really shite comared to what these guys made before it. Shite, shite, shite.

magnificent7 (February 18, 2004)

how come this got a review and no one reviewed give em enough rope!

Anonymous (March 17, 2003)

Savesthedaypunk is the funniest fucker alive.

"If I were king of this night, would you become my queen"

Yeah that's punk! Bahahahaha! It's funny because he's dumb.

Anonymous (May 5, 2002)

saves the day punk, dude ur a fuckin hypocrite. u say that punk is an attitude and that saves the day have the punk attitude right? well even then if the clash may sound "disco" there lyrics and attitude are FUCKING punk. So fuck.

savesthedaypunk (February 28, 2002)

You have your oppinions and i have mine.But if saves the day isnt punk, then what is it? And dont sy emo, cuz in my book emo and punk are one in the same.

Anonymous (February 28, 2002)


evildeadalive (February 27, 2002)

Ok, I actually do like that song, but would not ever call it punk. How can you say punk is about a lifestyle and say the Clash are not punk? That's just silly dude. The Clash defined punk and lived the fucking lifestyle, as opposed to those pretty boy rich kids.

savesthedaypunk (February 27, 2002)

If you ask me everyone of there songs are punk. Punk is about a lifestyle. STD's lyrics express that life style.

"And I will flail under these lights that seep down from the bitter sky tonight
and I will kick and beat my wrists together
and feel an ocean breathing waves, feel them licking at my face.
Ceilings don't exist and there are no floors beneath me.
If I were king of this night, would you become my queen?"

I dont know maybe you have to be from jersey (which i am) but those lyrics express punk to me.
Goodbye my friend. Good luck...

Anonymous (February 26, 2002)

This album rules. There is no need to caompare it with other albums. That is the worst review I have read in a long time. I was a child when this album came out and I loved it then and still love it today. Listening to it then is a lot different then now for the world has changed so much. 15 yr olds should probably stay away from this unless you have a good imagination and put in the effort to understand what it is (was) about.

City Kid

evildeadalive (February 26, 2002)

You're saying they werent inluential now? There is no point in even trying to converse with the likes of you. Just because you don't like them does not change the fact they influenced hundreds of thousands of people, and thousands of bands.
...and by saying the Clash arent punk you were practically begging to have your name brought into the conversation. How many punk songs do STD have? It's an honest question.

savesthedaypunk (February 25, 2002)

I didnt make a comment for you to make fun of my name. The only thing punk about this band is their singers accent and if that makes them famous, thats pretty poor, and therefore anyone who finds them influential or punk like is also poor.

evildeadalive (February 24, 2002)

OK this wasn't exactly their greatest album, but to say the Clash only had one punk song is pure stupidity. Don't even make comments if you have no idea what you are talking about, you are just making yourself look like an idiot. My alltime favorite 'punk' song: Career Opportunities. Or maybe London's Burning. These are in no way anything other than punk fucking rock, along with a ton of other songs by the Clash. Stop commenting on shit you don't know anything about, like what is or is not punk. Come on savestheday'punk', how many 'punk' songs do they have if the Clash only have one? Go back to your stupid ass A3 trivia/worship.

savesthedaypunk (February 24, 2002)

i dunno if "rock the casbah" is on this album, but it sounds like disco to me kids. London Calling was the only punk song by the clash.. wake up

Anonymous (February 17, 2002)

By far the greatest songs on this (and probably some of the greatest clash songs ever) are Red Angel Dragnet, and Ghetto Defendent. PURE BRILLIANCE. Totally different to anything else I normally like, and no i'm not someone who only likes slow weird eclectic music. Some of my fav bands are Leftover Crack, Rancid, Cock Sparrer, blah blah blah blah.

-Mark Bastard

Anonymous (February 11, 2002)

this review isnt as bad as some of them ive read. i like this album. a lot like BILLY BUTTCHEEKS

Anonymous (February 11, 2002)

thier first dive into ethnic music? the clash were doing ethnic since they started. they were one of, if not the first band to incorporate reggae into the punk scene. also sandinista runs the gamit of ethnic music. and just a side note on cut the crap. although i agree the album is horse shit, you can't deny that this is england isn't a great song. probably the last good song the clash ever did.

Anonymous (February 11, 2002)

This review is horrible. I mean, does punknews.org just hire fifteen year-old's to write their reviews?

Anonymous (February 11, 2002)

This is the most underrated Clash album. And sure, anything after "London Calling" would seem lacking musically or otherwise. But this record also shows the Clash's first dive into more ethnic music (which is entirely appropriate if you consider the political climate of the time), and is in the end a solemn meditation -- there's more meaning and emotion in "Straight to Hell" than there is in any of the countless over-produced, slick, emo-poster boy groups that reign today. Sure, "Overpowered by Funk" and a few others might not have the punch that the songs of the other Clash LPs had, but I've heard the same things said of these songs that I've heard said of "Give 'em Enough Rope", and even "London Calling". Bottom line? This record is amazing if you give it a chance. It will grow on you.

And jesus, folks, if you don't like this record, I'd hate to hear what you think of "Sandinista"! Cause, um, it's like a totally faggy record, dudez. Up the Strung Outs and Saves the Days! They have like, SOOOoooo much better cover photos. Like, totally.

Anonymous (February 9, 2002)

In my humble opinion (note: opinion), this album is about 40% greatness, 40% mediocrity and 20% dross.

Anonymous (February 8, 2002)

i know!

savesthedaypunk (February 7, 2002)

lol holla's a funny word

seek (February 6, 2002)

I like this album, definitely not their best, possibly their worst, but still a good album. Know your rights is a kick ass song, the live version is awesome.

Anonymous (February 6, 2002)

Tru holla

ChrisGorman (February 6, 2002)

Its better than anything many bands will make. It just sucks by Clash standards.

Anonymous (February 6, 2002)

its better than anything saves the day will make BBBBRRRRRRRROOOOOOCCCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLIIIIIIIII!!!!!!

savesthedaypunk (February 6, 2002)

This CD must suck if ur talking about the cover...

CallingLondon (February 6, 2002)

yes I know who Joe Strummer is. I know the band members, I'm just not familiar with the pictures.

Anonymous (February 6, 2002)

To CallingLondon:

Your name is obviously a reference to the Clash; I would expect better from you. The guy covering his face on the cover of Combat Rock is Joe Strummer. Ever heard of him?

CallingLondon (February 5, 2002)

haha, you can even see that they knew it was a mistake on the album cover. look at the guy (not sure who's who) with his hand on his face. it looks like he's thinking "oy, what did we do?"

ChrisGorman (February 5, 2002)

I think most non-Clash fans think of "Rock The Casbah" then "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" when they think of the Clash. Which is kind of unfortunate too.

Anonymous (February 5, 2002)

Definitely the Clash's worst album bar Cut The Crap. Should I Stay Or Should I Go is a boring pub rock song and its just a shame its the song everyone thinks of when they think of the Clash.

Anonymous (February 4, 2002)

By this time, The Clash were old and stale, there were hundreds of amazing fresh bands in the underground making better albums than this. Don't get me wrong, I love the Clash, but they should've bowed out after London Calling.

Anonymous (February 4, 2002)

i agree with the score of this album. I like a couple songs. But some just are hard to finish. I love "know your rights" that is one of my favorite songs the clash ever has done.

Anonymous (February 4, 2002)

alright, sorry bout that."Give Em Enough Rope". i was tired when i did this so give me a fuckin break.


savesthedaypunk (February 4, 2002)

Rofl, great comment!

Anonymous (February 4, 2002)

"Every great band should be shot, before they make their Combat Rock"

ChrisGorman (February 4, 2002)

Hey serious Clash fan, the album is called "Give Em Enough Rope". This album has some good trax like "Car Jamming", "Know Your Rights", "Rock The Casbah" and "Straight To Hell", but your right, there are some iffy songs here too. This is the last gasp for a truly great band.

Eyeball_kid (February 4, 2002)

Yeah, this has some iffy songs. Anyway isn't the album you're thinking of at the end 'Give 'em enough rope'?

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