Joe Strummer Rock Art & the X-Ray Style

Say it ain’t so, Joe. By staying out of the spotlight during this entire decade, we could reasonably expect an album’s worth of good songs — or at least interesting ideas — from the former Clash front man. While his former bandmate Mick Jones continued to sully the rep of the Clash catalogue by releasing tepid Big Audio Dynamite recordings, Strummer laid low and decided that if he had nothing to say, he’d say nothing at all. Until now. Amidst titles like “Diggin the New,” “Techno D-Day” and “Road to Rock’n’ Roll,” the most significant lyrical gem Strummer can command on this collection goes something like this: “Yalla yalla yalla yall-ah/ yalla yalla yalla ya-hoo/ yalla yalla yalla yall-ah/ there’s jambalaya on the bayou.” Trace elements of Strummer’s Spanish and dub influences remain, but when dumped on top of tired trip-hop drum programs and pulsing keyboards that try to salvage the songwriting, the overall effect mocks Strummer’s earlier glories. Pretty B.A.D. (Hellcat)