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London Calling, The Clash

Updated: Jun 17

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Navigating Life's Crossroads with The Clash

Should I Stay or Should I Go? This haunting question churned my stomach as I faced the monumental decision to resign from my job at IBM in Mexico and leave a comfortable job, family, and friends behind. The prospect of leaving everything to study abroad felt like leaping into the abyss. This very question led me to The Clash, the iconic pioneer of the UK Punk movement and one of my top bands of all time.

After struggling to reinvent myself from a frustrated architect to a software engineer and finally gaining some ground in that field, I still felt an itch, although I wasn’t sure what that was. This unrelenting drive led me to apply to MBA programs abroad, something I didn’t fully understand, but a few people I had met who had done it seemed like different people to me. Immediate rejections from Stanford and London Business School stung deeply, leaving me with two choices: Carnegie Mellon and Purdue. Purdue extended an invitation to their “accepted students weekend,” so I took a leap of faith. I flew to Chicago, rented a car, and drove through Indiana, battling every insecurity along the way. Each moment of that weekend felt like a relentless assault on my nerves, a far cry from my modest yet comfortable professional success at IBM Mexico. The knot in my stomach tightened with every passing hour.

Driving back from Lafayette to Chicago, I wrestled with my decision: “I am starting married life, I have long-life friends, a clear path to growth at work, a cozy rental apartment, two cars, and relaxing weekends; why risk it all?” When I returned to Mexico, I had convinced myself to stay put. Sitting down with Marilu to share my decision, I expected she’d be overjoyed, ready to continue our life as newlyweds. But instead of relief, her reaction was a thunderbolt: “No way, it is time for us to go.” Her words echoed the wisdom of her former boss, who had taken a similar leap and told her, “You must go. You may not understand why now, but your life will change for good. Don’t hesitate.”

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Esta indecision me molesta

I must go.

“Should I Stay of Should I Go.”  This timeless hit was included in the album Combat Rock, The Clash’s most significant commercial success, and the last with the emblematic duo of Mick Jones and Joe Strummer. But it is not that album I would like to write about. My favorite is “London Calling,” which is often praised as a landmark punk album and one of the greatest albums in rock history overall. Its critical acclaim, cultural impact, and enduring popularity make it a strong contender for the title of the best punk album of all time.

"London Calling," released in 1979, is The Clash's third studio album; it deftly blends punk with various other genres, including reggae, rockabilly, and jazz, showcasing the band's musical versatility and ambitious creativity - yet raw power and simplicity. The title track, "London Calling," is an urgent anthem that captures the fear and uncertainty of a world on the brink of collapse, driven by Joe Strummer's haunting vocals and the band's relentless energy. "Train in Vain" (the hidden track) offers a poignant departure with its catchy melody and introspective lyrics about love and betrayal. "Spanish Bombs" infuses punk with a touch of flamenco, addressing the Spanish Civil War and echoing the band's engagement with political issues. 

"London Calling" isn't just an album; it's a journey through the band's social and political consciousness, filled with genre-defying music and sharp, insightful lyrics. Its enduring legacy is a testament to The Clash's ability to capture the late 1970s while creating a timeless and influential masterpiece.

I must go.

Almost 25 years after that decision, I can't imagine my life if I had stayed. I would have closed the door to a career that opened the gates of the world to me, a fulfilling life by the Great Lakes with a beautiful family, lifelong enriching friendships, and a profession in the innovation field in some of the best companies in the world. The lesson here is clear: the unknown is uncomfortable, fear injects doubt, and doubt paralyzes us. But sometimes, stepping into the unknown is the only way to find the extraordinary... if The Chash is unknown to you, you are missing it.

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