Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone writes a pretty spot-on review of The Clash's Sandinista! on the occasion of the – can it be?! – fortieth anniversary of its release. I have a couple quibbles – chiefly that he describes Topper Headon's drumming as “floppy.” Headon is among the crispest, tightest – and surely, most underrated – drummers of all time. “Floppy” isn't an adjective that springs to mind when I think of him. Joe Strummer basically said he was the missing link that made the band go. It wasn't til Headon signed on that the Clash became the Clash.
Like Sheffield, though I love London Calling, Sandinista! is my favorite Clash album. But where he favors side 3, it was side 2 that mesmerized me. (“Rebel Waltz”/”Look Here”/”The Crooked Beat”/”Somebody Got Murdered”/”One More Time”/”One More Dub.”) Not surprising. The record was all over the map so it stands to reason different listeners would find different points of purchase on it. Also like him, I suppose it's no reach to assume, it was in heavy rotation in my headphones as a teenager. I've long counted it in my “desert top five.”