The Clash: This Is England (The Great Lost Final Album)

Following an online prompt courtesy of Elizabeth Nelson (music writer extraordinaire and singer-songwriter for hyper-literate indie rockers The Paranoid Style), I thought it would be interesting to construct an imaginary final album for the Clash.  Certainly they deserve a better send-off than the last studio album to appear under the band's name, 1985's Cut The Crap, where Joe Strummer, having booted Mick Jones from the band, tries to come up with a disc full of ready-made post-punk anthems and instead ends up with a listless, uninspiring selection of shoddily-produced tunes with corny, forced, shout-along choruses.

The mix tosses together:
  • The few salvageable Cut The Crap tunes, most notably the superb "This Is England" -- the one track on the album truly worthy of the Clash name -- as well as the silly but amusing faux anthem "We Are The Clash" (largely because it makes for a fun introduction for the mix) and the atypically melodic and Jones-like "North & South";
  • A Combat Rock outtake, later officially released on a Clash box set;
  • A few songs from Jones's first two Big Audio Dynamite albums (as well as the anachronistic "I Turned Out a Punk" from late in BAD's run, which, despite coming about 7 or 8 years later than most of this package, works surprisingly well as an album closer);
  • A few stand-out tracks from Strummer's solo debut, 1989's largely forgettable (and desperately in need of remastering) Earthquake Weather; and
  • A number of late 80s Strummer singles and soundtrack contributions (several found on the recent Strummer compilation Joe Strummer 001).
Alas, unlike, say, an imaginary Beatles album culled from early solo albums, where you can just about imagine the songs slotting into a proper final Beatles record, Strummer's and Jones's post-Clash styles were too disparate for this to sound like a coherent whole.  Strummer's songs largely continued in a post-punk vein, while Jones introduced dance music, electronica, hip-hop and pop into Big Audio Dynamite's dense palate.  While the two collaborated on BAD's excellent second album, 1986's No. 10 Upping Street, with Strummer co-writing and co-producing a number of tracks, it still sounds like a BAD album and unlike what Strummer was doing on his own. (The one track here that feels most like a possible Clash song is "U.S. North," a BAD outtake sung by Jones and finally released on 001 -- it milks a single riff for way too long, yet actually sounds like what one can imagine a post-Crap/BAD Clash sounding like.)

Yet despite the schizophrenic styles, it's still a damn fun mix, cuz -- c'mon, it's Strummer and Jones. The fucking Clash.
Here's a video with Strummer performing BAD's "V. Thirteen" (which he co-wrote with Jones), giving a hint of what might have been...
And while we're here, how about some footage from the Strummer/Jones reunion shortly before Joe passed away?
Here's the Spotify playlist. Alas, one of Strummer's better tunes from the era, "Dum Dum Club" (from the Sid & Nancy soundtrack), doesn't stream (at least in the US), but otherwise everything I burned on my personal mix can be found here: