Before we delve deep into ranking, let’s be clear. There’s no bad album by The Clash. Each one carries some good and bad moments, depending on which era of the band you prefer. Here’s my list of The Clash albums ranked from worst to best.
06. CUT THE CRAP
It is the sixth and final studio album by this legendary English punk rock band. Cut the Crap doesn’t sound crappy at all, but it wasn’t good enough to surpass the diversity of Sandinista or the sonic value of Combat Rock. As much as Cut The Crap resonates with almost the exact sound as their fifth album, Combat Rock, The Clash introduced eighties electronica, drum pads, and then-contemporary production and almost totally removed reggae and dub from their songs. Also, the fact Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon kicked Mick Jones and Topper Headon out of the band played a lot in placing this album on the sixth and last place.
Favorite tracks: Dirty Punk, Movers And Shakers, and Life Is Wild
The Clash tried to continue their winning streak after London Calling by incorporating more funk, reggae, jazz, gospel, rockabilly, folk, dub, rhythm and blues, calypso, disco, and rap into their compositions. With 36 tracks spanning over three vinyl records, The Clash somehow distanced themselves from punk rock music even more. You’ll unquestionably stumble upon some highlights on this triple LP, but Sandinista! will probably sound boring if you’re listening to The Clash for the first time.
Favorite tracks: Ivan Meets G.I. Joe, Somebody Got Murdered, Up In Heaven (Not Only Here), If Music Could Talk, Police On My Back, and Washington Bullets
04. COMBAT ROCK
The Clash has returned to punk rock waters with this album, but not enough considering how many excellent punk rock records emerged in 1982. Compared to the remainder of the punk rock scene back then, Combat Rock sounded like a sad attempt that levitated between the mainstream and underground scene, but at least it has some direction, unlike Sandinista! Funk, reggae, and dub were still present in the mix. Sadly, it was the beginning of an end for The Clash. The only reason Combat Rock is at the fourth and not fifth position is a couple of hits such as Should I Stay Or Should I Go and Rock The Casbah.
Favorite tracks: Know Your Rights, Should I Stay Or Should I Go, Rock The Casbah, and Inoculated City
03. LONDON CALLING
London Calling is an excellent double album with an adequate ratio between punk rock and other music genres. It’s an introductory piece and go-to album for all the die-hard fans of The Clash. From songwriting, composing, and arranging to musicianship and dynamic, The Clash made an outstanding piece that’s popular even after 40 years.
Favorite tracks: London Calling, Brand New Cadillac, Hateful, Spanish Bombs, Lost In Supermarket, The Guns Of Brixton, Death Or Glory, The Card Cheat, I’m Not Down, and Train In Vain
02. GIVE ‘EM ENOUGH ROPE
With the intensity and power of their debut but with much better production, Give ‘Em Enough Rope jumps to the well-deserved second spot. This album proves all the greatness of The Clash and places their songwriting/compositing abilities under the limelight. Give ‘Em Enough Rope shines bright with all the excellent melodies, harmonies, chord progressions, and beats. This album ties with London Calling for being the highest-charting album for the Clash in their native United Kingdom.
Favorite tracks: Safe European Home, English Civil War, Tommy Gun, Guns On The Roof, Drug-Stabbing Time, Stay Free, and All The Young Punks (New Boots And Contracts)
01. THE CLASH – THE CLASH
Many Clash fans would definitely put London Calling on the first place, but there are a couple of reasons why I picked their self-titled debut as their best one. The first reason would be the number of excellent tracks. I mean, just look at the tracklist, and you’ll realize what I am talking about. Both UK and US vinyl editions are superb on their own terms. The second reason I picked this album is the band’s departure from the classic punk rock sound at London Calling. The fact the entire album was written and recorded over three weeks in February 1977 for £4,000 and still left the mark on generations of punk rockers for 40 years pretty much sums up everything. Nothing can beat the impact of their self-titled debut.
Favorite tracks: Janie Jones, Remote Control, I’m So Bored With USA, White Riot, Hate & War, What’s My Name, London’s Burning, Career Opportunites, Police & Thieves, and Garageland