The first time I realized that pretty much no one else in the United States of America appreciates Big Audio Dynamite’s Tighten Up Vol. 88 was partway through a lip-synch dance routine that I’d put together to try out for my rural middle school’s annual talent show. During a particularly frenetic move, as I reached to secure the military beret I’d chosen as part of my stage costume, I saw a look of unambiguous horror on the faces of the middle-aged country-assed women on the judge’s panel. At that moment it occurred to me for the first time that not everyone in the world feels as warmly as I do about Mick Jones’s post-Clash experiment in combining samplers, drum machines, Don Letts, and the kind of epic, sentimental pop that epitomized Jones’s contributions to the Clash.
Predictably I didn’t make the cut.