Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Clash: Sandinista, Another Interesting Review, Same Author Writes About Pink Floyd

This author does not seem to have the intense personal connection to the album that I do, but does seem to come away with a similar understanding of what Sandinista is and why it is so special, musically.  He seems to know more about the album's production than I do.  Interestingly, he doesn't seem to be a big fan of punk rock, in the traditional Ramones/Sex Pistols/Black Flag/Dead Kenedy's sense.  Note that he gives both the US and UK releases[1] of The Clash's self titled album (their "punkest" record) lower ratings than Sandinista or London Calling.

McFerrin also reviews The Final Cut by Pink Floyd, which I wrote about here, comparing and contrasting with About Face by David Gilmour.  Again, we come to somewhat similar conclusions.  Alas, I can not find anything he has written about Gilmour outside of Pink Floyd, so we don't know what he makes of About Face.  If you read the introduction section of his Pink Floyd page you will see he does not hold Gilmour int he same esteem I do. 

A note about his rating scale: He rates the records in hex.  This allows a one-character rating to represent the album's position on a 16-point scale.  WAY more space efficient than a four or five star system!  ...until you consider that most people don't know from hex[3], so he has to devote a whole page on his site explaining the damn thing.  I still think it's cool.  Just keep these things in mind: 

It counts up.  9 is better than 5.  F is better than D.
All letters are better than all numbers (except 10). 
The letters are not letter grades. 

If you look at McFerrin's reviews sorted by rating, you see that the most elite rankings are dominated by The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones.  I find it interesting that someone who's priorities are clearly so different from mine[2] would see Sandinista so similarly.  

[1]  There are significant differences between the two releases, which were actually two years apart.  For the USA release four songs were removed, five songs were added and a different recording of "White Riot" was used.  That means about 1/3 of the album is different.  Although this is their "debut" album it terms of when it was recorded and initially released it was their second full length release in the USA.  Prior to 1979 the only (legal) way to get this album in the US was to buy an import of the UK version.  Topper Headon, the best known of the Clash's drummers, only appears on the tracks added to the US version.  I believe that makes the UK version of the self titled album and Cut The Crap the only Clash albums Headon is not on.
[2] Beatles, Who and Stones are perfect examples of bands I respect but am not interested in.  There are several Who songs I really enjoy when I hear them, but they are definitely in that "good but not interesting" category.
[3] Ever wonder where that idiom comes from?

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