Are You Red... Y

Album: Cut the Crap (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • It's actually difficult to get much information on the infamous last ever album by The Clash, mainly because the group themselves try to airbrush most of their post-1983 history out. It was a dark period after the firing of Mick Jones and Topper Headon, the latter of whom had descended badly into drug addiction, and their creative inspiration was sorely missed when it came time to writing an album for the "Clash Mk.II" as it's derogatorily referred to now. An even worse decision was letting controversial manager Bernie Rhodes become lead songwriter. The entire Cut the Crap album is regarded as a disaster from start to finish.
  • This song intially featured in Clash Mk.II's live set as "Are You Ready for War" when they toured the new lineup in 1984. The lyrics are a low-grade rehash of the themes explored on earlier tracks such as "Charlie Don't Surf" (from 1980's Sandinista! record), looking at global conflict and Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. It ends up relying on poor rhyming couplets and generic stereotypes about vodka and the Kremlin to make its point, all the while surrounded by poor low-grade 1980s keyboards and synthesisers. The Clash were always known for pushing the boundaries and not just being a Punk rock band, but previous stylistic changes at least had creative merit - this just sounds like a poor attempt to jump on the electronic instrument bandwagon that took over most of music in the 1980s.

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