This seems ot divide opinion more than any other Clash album - some see it as a sell out, others as a return to form following the sprawling, flawed Sandinista. Im certainly in the latter camp; i love this record, and certainly believe the criticism levelled at it is wholy unfair: its a "sell out", why? Because it had two hit singles on it? London Calling was hardly Aphex Twin either, was it? Ironically the Clash's attempt to "reign it in" following the musical binging that was Sandinista is where, in my opinion, this album fails. It has a fairly good cross section of musical styles on here, but fails to really sink into any kind of groove due to the genre-hopping combined with its relative (ie for a Clash album) brevity. Strummers lyrics have also deepened on this record - Allen Ginsberg turns up on Ghetto Defendant and its clear on some of the other tracks (Car Jamming, Straight To Hell) that he was an influence on Strummers songwwriting. It came out at a time when the Clash had just broke big (that is Shea Stadium, albeit supporting the Who, big) in America, and i think this is one of the major influences in people who claim this record is commercial. In my opinion, its no more commercial than London Calling or even the first Clash record, which did appear, lest we forget, in 1977 - a time when no punk record could fail.
Probably my third favourite Clash record, which would place it in my top 15-20 of all time. Love it.