Clash, Against Me! voice opinions


Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 7:25 p.m.

This week, Aurora listens to ..."The Clash," the debut album from The Clash (1977)

AURORA:: The Clash hit up the airwaves with a roar letting the world know about them whichever way they could. The London-bred punk band cranked out the protest tunes with enough reggae and fast rock grooves to keep anyone awake and interested in whatever the band brought next.

BILL: Though the American release of this album came in 1979 (with several substitutions, including The Clash's cover of "I Fought the Law," which had been a single in the U.K.), the original remains a scrappy introduction to the band that became the standard-bearer of British punk.

AURORA: One of my favorite tunes in the album is "Remote Control", an amazing song against oppression and conformity sure to appeal to rebel kids tired of being "controlled" by outside influences. It also shows anger towards record companies and areas which cancelled their tour back in the day.

BILL: But when they toured the States, they had such acts as Bo Diddley and Sam & Dave open for them, which at least showed that their musical riot was all-inclusive.

AURORA: I also love "I'm So Bored with the U.S.A.". While many thought the tune was about being bored with America in general, it's really about the band being bored with the americanization of the UK back then, I read. I love The Clash and I'm amazed that they influenced cool bands such as Green Day, Kaiser Chiefs and Against Me!

Let the right for bands to voice their opinion with crunching guitar sounds and catchy lyrics live on!

This week, Bill listens to..."New Wave," from Against Me! (2007)

BILL: On their major-label debut, Gainesville's Against Me! accomplishes what R.E.M. did when they signed with Warner Bros., namely stretch out a bit while keeping their integrity intact. Producer Butch Vig (who also produced Nirvana's major-label debut, "Nevermind") makes the inherent power in singer/songwriter Tom Gabel's songs accessible but no less compelling.

AURORA: I saw this band live, Bill, and they kick serious, ahem, booty. Their songs are filled with jabs at today's so-called political figures and lost parents with lost children. They aren't afraid to tackle any issue, and I like that.

BILL: "Thrash Unreal" has (so far) become the big hit off this album, but I like the all-out assault of "White People for Peace," with its blistering refrain "Protest songs, in response to military aggression," and the thought-provoking lyrics of "Stop!" ("Stop! Take some time to think, figure out what's important to you").

AURORA: While listening to "Thrash Unreal" I got lost in the story. "Stop!" definitely made me think. It's not always that a band makes you really ponder issues, and I'm happy to say Against Me! is the type of band that makes you listen and analyze.

BILL: The band's 2005 album, "Searching For a Former Clarity," was a tough act to follow. But there's a reason why Spin magazine named this one album of the year for 2007. I think Gabel took his own advice and figured out what was important to him.

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