I know I'm a little late with this eulogy, but lately I can't stop listening to Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros. And I'm not exactly sure why. I usually can't stand late career solo stuff by heroes of yesteryear. And I'm hard pressed to explain what makes Strummer's stuff so special.
In principle, there's not much to it. It's basically just grown-up rock, with some bare-bones drinking music (a little British, a little Irish, a little American) mixed with dub and a bit of world music and just a touch of punk. But I find it to be profoundly beautiful. It's mature and authentic, which is probably why it's tough to pinpoint or describe, because such things are intangible.
Still, it's inspiring. Here's a guy who, in a past life, helped change the landscape of pop culture. Twice. Then in the last years of his life he put out this string of albums that were unremarkable in almost every regard, except that they were profoundly true.
Like so many rockers, he died too young. But, when it comes to creative careers, one can only wish one so full.