Yo, this be Reuben. Clutch have been one of my kinda bucket-list bands to see live in the past couple of years, and whaddayaknow, I ticked ’em off (last month at the Bristol O2 Academy, to be exact). And what a time that was. What better way to celebrate finally seeing them in action than a list of their top fifteen songs? Oh, there are most definitely better ways, but yunno. That’s what’s happening. As per with these joint lists, the picks I’ll be writing sections for are gonna have blue titles.
Eh?! Me? Let Reuben? Take the reinsssss?!?!?! I mean, he must’ve slipped a couple extra Xanax’s into my mug of youth blood (cus you know i’m all about those x a n s). Anywhom, it’s perhaps rock’s worst kept secret that Clutch is one of the finest, most consistent bands out there and, ever since Reuben introduced me to them a few years ago (and even more since that aforementioned gig), I’ve been inclined to agree. I mean, if the colour scheme hasn’t clicked yet, my picks will be in orange (you know what orange looks like, I’m not colouring it).
15. Algo Ha Cambiado (Strange Cousins from the West, 2009)
Hola, mi amigos! And that’s the extent of intelligable Spanish I know. Despite my lack of culture (or clutchure), I love this deep cut from the band’s 2009 chunk-fest. A cover of Pappo’s Blue, one may be mistaken for thinking this to be a slight novelty track. However, dexterous bassline and Neil’s always enjoyable approach to vocals (BUT WE’LL GET TO THAT BIT LATER, A LOT.) will prove otherwise. Plus, I’m a sucker for some show-off drumming, which JP *goes for* at the end.
14. The Wolf Man Kindly Requests… (Earth Rocker, 2013)
How do you close an album as full of energy and bite as Earth Rocker? You get together all that energy and you make it BITE. Neil brings about his smoothest sweet talkin’, and to the question, “Can you dig it?” My answer will always be yes. Yes, I can dig it. His lyrical lovemaking with the mic needs something else alongside it though, right? JP sorts that with a crispy clean hi-hat rattling in over a rumbling beat atop an offset of ominously rolling bass licks, while bluesy guitar riffs branch off it with an extra ounce of distortion and pure heavy — and oh boy oh boy it’s groovy to a T. This, my friends, is how you close an album like Earth Rocker.
13. Earth Rocker (Earth Rocker, 2013)
What this about limits? A song I’d have much higher if my ways were to be unencumbered by Reuben’s taxing opinions, the title track from Clutch’s 2013 record, and perhaps their best (?), is pure firepower like few other band’s can deliver. The power in Neil’s voice, his theatrical laughs, just make for the best singalong, while the riff power chugs away in the background, fuelling the hyperspeed tomfoolery with dark matter. Once again, the drums are just awesome, but you knew that already.
12. Let a Poor Man Be (Strange Cousins from the West, 2009)
Oh goodness me those two last tracks were a bit of a racket weren’t they? I’ll say. Let’s take a step back to the simpler times of 2009 and nod our heads to some 70s style chunky guitar blues rock — we’ve got sliders intact and everything. Here we see JP bring out one of his best jazzy rock n’ rolly and pure good time-y drumbeats to give the butter smooth riffs some flavour. To give it that bit of spicy kick, look no further than Neil Fallon. He, nor the rest of the band, fail to deliver and this is five minutes of good and proper classic hard rock.
11. The Regulator (Blast Tyrant, 2004)
Yeahh, I see you fake fans who came to this song from The Walking Dead. I see you, crawling around. Yeah, that’s right. Still, I don’t blame you — and kudos to the folks who decided to wrangle this gem into the show. A true gem, that it is. The Regulator sees Clutch put on their cowboy boots and back to the roots of blues rock for a goosebump-wielding, effectively realised slow-burner. It moves at walking pass but with that bouncy riff at its heart it doesn’t fail to deliver — and lest we forget, that chorus is c-l-a-s-s-i-c.
10. A Quick Death in Texas (Psychic Warfare, 2015)
If Clutch have a little tendancy for playing cowboy every now and then, this is their The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The instrumental is southern rock injected with molten lava, with dashes of that oh-so delicious Clutchy funk added for flavour. On the mic, Neil acts as more than just your average Skint Eastwood, with some of the best-written lyrics on Psychic Warfare, an album which, lest we forget, elsewhere features a three-legged mule.
9. Cypress Grove (Blast Tyrant, 2004)
It can’t be put into words quite how sweet the riff, rhythm and just about everything in this damn song is. The sheer laid-back awesomeness of that cowbell-filled drum track and that full, overdriven and funkitudinal guitar turn regularly makes me drop whatever I’m doing and just appreciate it in a state of disbelief. This is angry, extra groovy music delivered Clutch style — straight down your ear-holes in two minutes forty-five of pure rock fury.
8. How to Shake Hands (Book of Bad Decisions, 2018)
Let’s get hot, shall we? “I’m gonna kiss all the babies/Maybe their mamas too“, Neil Fallon cries as he rallies for his presidency. He’s also gonna put Jimi Hendrix on the twenty dollar bill. With one of his best performances on the mic to date, How to Shake Hands tops everything else on Clutch’s latest with ease, and stands as one of their most fun songs to date. I told you before that this is a “song that makes me grin as gleefully as the band who’s playing it, and that’s exactly what I want when I listen to this band.” Yeah. Vote Neil.
7. Firebirds! (Psychic Warfare, 2015)
There aren’t many Clutch tracks out there, especially nowadays, where the band take it easy. However, if you’re looking for perhaps the most full throttle cut in their discography, you’ve just made it, fool. Though not as fast as some, and not as heavy as others, the sheer eruption in the chorus shall uplift the paralyzed and wake the dead, as Neil goes full alarm clock on our asses, and JP hits us with the most furious drum roll this side of Ace of Spades.
6. Sucker for the Witch (Psychic Warfare, 2015)
Think hard rock. Think bonafide riffs, booming vocals and heavy drums. Congratulations, you’ve basically thinked of Sucker For The Witch, perhaps (according to this list at least) Clutch’s best album cut. Neil hits us with effortless cool lyrics, served with an angry preacher on dope, and JP switches snare patterns like he’s a railway point, and both destinations are head-banging awesomeness. However, Dan’s bassline particularly sticks out as one of his finest, delivering groove and a little ooky-spooks fitting of a song with ‘witch’ in the title.
Top five time lads, shit’s got real.
5. D.C Sound Attack! (Earth Rocker, 2013)
Cowbell and an impeccable sense of groove at hand, Neil and his bunch of merry men opened their set in Bristol with this absolute funk-fest. Par for the course for Earth Rocker, it’s a hefty boi and stays true to their image of pure rock fury, although this time it gets pushed into the top five with a cheeky li’l inclusion of a harmonica. Well, not just that. It’s also got one of their catchiest hooks of all time, and its dripping in relentless cool with little echo drops in the vocal production and the best breakdowns this side of metal, all carried along by an unstoppable rhythm.
4. Crucial Velocity (Earth Rocker, 2013)
Right, this boi should honestly be in the top three I swear to *gawd*. One of my personal favourites in their discography, this criminally underrated, in terms of singles, track from Earth Rocker is just pure choonage from top to bottom. Tim’s guitar lead here is just fuzz and murder, travelling at top speeds, and crashing into a Marshall stack laced with dynamite and fireworks. As always, JP is cymballing at his peak and Neil’s groovy adoration of his Rocket 88 is infectious. Plus, who the hell is telling him to quit his lowdown ways? I sure as fuck ain’t.
3. Electric Worry (From Beale Street to Oblivion, 2007)
Clutch’ve got their cowboy boots on again and flipped out a revolver for a good old fashioned stand-off. Taking its origin in Muddy Waters’ Trouble No More, the guitar turns stay strictly in the blues scale, often masking Neil’s vocal output as the Maryland rockers do a damn good job at an homage to their blues rocks roots. As a standalone song, too, Electric Worry is a progressive beast which when building is about the coolest thing in existence, and when rocking, it’s nothing short of an anthem. Honestly, there is little better in this world than singing along to that chorus live. Vamanos, vamanos!
2. The Mob Goes Wild (Blast Tyrant, 2004)
The amount of fun that me and Milo have got out of simplifying the intro vocal lines of this song to “please allow pant so dance” may be sad — tragic, even — but if a song’s as relentlessly tongue-in-cheek as The Mob Goes Wild, I’m blaming the song for starting it. This is the best taste you’re ever gonna get of old school Clutch before they got all Beale Street-y, perfectly embodying the in-your-face, beery stylings and sending them off with a bang. The music video is about as stupid and scummy as Neil’s nonchalant vocal delivery (streets on fiyaaaaaaa), while the big phat riffage on display is simple but oh-so-effective. Blast Tyrant, to me, is Clutch’s best album, and somehow yet for how good it is, this is by far the best song on it. Just don’t ask us to cover it.
Get some honourables down ya, fool.
Careful with that Mic… (Pure Rock Fury, 2001)
Your Love is Incarceration (Psychic Warfare, 2015)
Ghost (Blast Tyrant, 2004)
Unto the Breach (Earth Rocker, 2013)
The Devil & Me (From Beale Street to Oblivion, 2007)
Mr Freedom (Earth Rocker, 2013)
In Walks Barbarella (Book of Bad Decisions, 2018)
So we’ve got Gemini, Pisces and Aries covered, but who’s on the microphone…?
1. X-Ray Visions (Psychic Warfare, 2015)
As you can probably tell from my incessant whinging, I let Reuben pick a lot of the order on this one, with an ultimatum (one of my famous ultimatums (it may live in infamy)); that this, the song that kicked off our joint obsession with Clutch, be numero uno. It’s just the ultimate Clutch song, everyone’s on peak form. JP’s drums are crispy and dynamic, Dan is steeped in fuzz and Tim kills with one of the best riffs of the decade. Oh, and on the microphoneeeee — SCORPIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
So that’s our list. A lot of their later stuff I’m sure you’ll agree and we had to omit a ton of absolute bangers, so what did we miss? Tell us, by sending a messenger pigeon. No need for addresses, it knows where to go. Link to the Spotify playlist and other Clutch-related articles down below.
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: GIVE US A CLICK HOMEBOI
OTHER CLUTCHY BOIS:
Book of Bad Decisions (2018) – Reuben’s Review
Psychic Warfare (2015) – Reuben’s Review
First Impressions: Gimme The Keys
MMM: Decapitation Blues
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations
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