Although there have been many attempts to properly anthologize The Clash, most efforts became bogged down in trying to cherry-pick tracks off of albums such as London Calling which were self-sufficient statements. The Singles presents a complete picture of the seminal band by gathering together every single and B-side the band ever released. Also, every prior compilation has totally ignored Cut the Crap, the final Clash effort made after Joe Strummer had kicked out all the original members and replaced them with guys seemingly chosen off a British unemployment line. Nevertheless, the final Clash single "This Is England" deserved to be included in the band's impressive lexicon.
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Released dually as a conventional four-disc box and as a massive vinyl collection of all 19 of the 7-inch singles (complete with original artwork), The Singles is a set designed for musicologists and Anglophile geeks who have both too much time and too much money. The music, however, is still remarkably significant. Hearing early tracks such as "White Riot," "London's Burning" and "(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais" segue into "Armagideon Time," "Train in Vain" and "One More Time" produces a revelatory experience. In this context, even latter efforts such as the tiresome "Should I Stay or Should I Go" make sense. The Singles makes clear that we will likely never see a band the caliber of The Clash again.