#88, "Safe European Home," The Clash (1978)

Give 'Em Enough Rope is my favorite Clash album which I think is less unusual than I initially thought but I still think the album is fairly underrated. Rolling Stone has their original review of Give online and it's very lukewarm. Well, maybe they didn't know any better. I also don't think I've heard anyone else claim it before. Maybe I just haven't done a thorough enough canvassing. Feel free to prove me wrong in the comments. 


That said, I wouldn't put it too far in front of London Calling, Sandinista, and the Self-Titled. Those four are all solid A/A+ efforts. "Safe European Home," however, is the best Track One of any Clash record and probably any record, period. Probably. 


I love how it starts with such energy. Like before the song starts everyone's at the starting line and they shoot an inaudible starter's pistol. Then the song starts. I love it. It's a great first-thing-in-the-morning song. Gets you going. 


I 100% credit Pete with getting me into the Clash. I think I've mentioned before that when I met him, I enjoyed the contemporary punk of the mid-90s, but hadn't heard much of the 70s stuff beyond "Anarchy in the UK" and assorted Ramones songs, while it was Pete's main bag. He brought me along, starting with the Clash. The first mixtape he gave me included "Lost in the Supermarket" and "White Riot." "White Riot" made sense to me but "Lost" struck me as not sounding like any punk I knew, all mellow and feely as it was. But even at that point in their careers, they were way more punk than, say Rancid. It's a good lesson for life.


Pete told me long ago and this was mentioned also in the Clash documentary Westway to the World that this song recounts Joe and Mick's trip to Jamaica to go on a songwriting retreat. They were kind of taken aback by how unpleasant the experience was, as white tourists in an impoverished country. I think they also thought they were cool enough to hang but nobody gave a shit about the Clash there. Much as I was impressed by how far "Lost in the Supermarket" was from the typical punk sound I was accustomed to, the humility plainly laid out in "Safe European Home" is impressive given the tough-guy perception punk is sometimes unfairly subject to. 


Paul Simonon is still pretty mad about not being invited to go to Jamaica with Mick and Joe, despite all this.