Twenty-five years ago this week, The Clash released their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope.
Artistic sophomore efforts always threaten to over-promise and under-deliver.
Inevitably, then, reaction to Rope was decidedly mixed.
Critics were mostly enthralled. Rolling Stone and Time hailed Give ‘Em Enough Rope as 1978′s album of the year.
On The Clash’s home turf, a writer at Sounds (who probably never lived this down) declared it one of the best records in history.
For many fans, however, such critical acclaim bolstered their own disdain.
The iconoclastic punk band had promised their loyal followers that signing their six-figure contract with CBS Records would never turn them into commercial, corporate puppets. One zine famously declared that “punk died” the day that deal was done.
So as far as longtime loyalists were concerned, Give ‘Em Enough Rope represented a blatant betrayal. They called the record slick and overproduced — by the guy behind Blue Oyster Cult, no less!
For less rabid music lovers, Rope simply got lost between the band’s epochal self-titled debut and their third release, the mainstream masterpiece London Calling.
Heck, Fred Armisen even forgot to make fun of it: