The Clash–Career Opportunities/Janie Jones

Before developing a sound and a political consciousness that would traverse the world, The Clash made British punk music about British issues.  On their debut album, that meant examining the depressed economic state of what was soon to become Thatcherite England.  That album featured two time-tested classics on the topic, the sputtering, breackneck Janie Jones, which Martin Scorsese once named the best rock tune of all time, and the derisively angry Career Opportunities.  The latter channels all the frustration of everyone who’s ever been underpaid, underemployed or underappreciated at work.  It’s a bitter indictment of the crumbling economy and the limited opportunities available for British youth which is painfully relevant again today for a generation of workers across Europe.  But it’s Janie Jones that remains the more perfect tune.  By now the opening is purely iconic: Topper’s stuttering, combative drums and the snotty, aggressive guitar are instantly recognizable.  In the two minutes that follow, Joe Strummer manages to perfectly capture the pain of every worker with a hopelessly mundane career, daydreaming about being somewhere else, getting stoned and listening to rock and roll.  “He don’t like his boring job, no!,” he sneers, before promising to let his boss know “exactly how he feels/IT’S PRETTY BAAAAAD!”  Of course Strummer’s delivery really sells it, punctuated by a band bristling with resentment.  It’s a brilliantly straightforward but incredibly special depiction of the universal desire to live one’s life for oneself.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s