I'm So Bored with the USA

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"I'm So Bored with the U.S.A."
Song by The Clash
from the album The Clash
Released 8 April 1977 (1977-04-08) (UK)
July 1979 (US)
Recorded March 1977
Genre Punk rock
Length 2:25
Label CBS
Songwriter(s) Joe Strummer, Mick Jones
Producer(s) Mikey Foote

"I'm So Bored with the U.S.A." is a song by British punk rock band The Clash, featured on their critically acclaimed 1977 debut album, which was released in the United States in July 1979 as their second album after Give 'Em Enough Rope. It was the album's third track in the original version and second in the US version.

Song information[edit]

The song was originally titled "I'm So Bored With You",[1][2] a love song written by Mick Jones. According to Keith Topping's book The Complete Clash, the song was about Jones's then girlfriend, the same woman who was the topic of "Deny".[3]

According to the story often told by the song's authors Joe Strummer and Jones, including on the documentary Westway to the World, the change came about by Strummer mishearing the song's title when Jones played it to him during their first meeting at their Davies Road squat.[1] The band's early recordings, including the popular live bootleg 5 Go Mad At The Roundhouse, include the song in its original form. However, by the time of the concert on 20 September 1976 at the Roundhouse, Camden, the song was performed using its new title.[citation needed] The intro to the song is a variant on the intro to Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols.

Themes[edit]

Originally demoed with slightly different lyrics during The Clash's second demo session with their soundman Mickey Foote as producer, "I'm So Bored with the U.S.A."'s lyrics do exactly what its title suggests, condemning several aspects of the American society,[4] such as drug problems in the US Army (particularly heroin), the support of the American government to dictatorships in the Third World (later denounced on the Sandinista! track "Washington Bullets"), and popular police drama series Starsky and Hutch and Kojak. It also criticizes Richard Nixon, mentioning the Watergate scandal's tapes.

Personnel[edit]

Covers[edit]

  • Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire have played the song as part of their setlist on the "Reflektors" tour.[5]
  • Canadian punk band The Subhumans sang the song using the lyrics "I'm so bored with DOA" when opening for their fellow Vancouver punkers DOA, at the Commodore ballroom in 1982.
  • Ex-Stone Roses guitarist John Squire performed the song live. A recording was released on Time Changes Everything 8 Track Live EP.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Letts Don; Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Terry Chimes, Rick Elgood, The Clash (2001). The Clash, Westway to the World (Documentary). New York, NY: Sony Music Entertainment; Dorismo; Uptown Films. Event occurs at 13:40–14:46. ISBN 0-7389-0082-6. OCLC 49798077. 
  2. ^ Caws, Matthew (December 1995). "Mick Jones". Guitar World. New York: Harris Publications. 12. ISSN 1045-6295. OCLC 7982091. Actually, "I'm So Bored With The U.S.A." was "I'm So Bored With You" until Joe added the "S" and the "A." 
    Related news articles:
  3. ^ Topping, Keith (2004) [2003]. The Complete Clash (2nd ed.). Richmond: Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 1-903111-70-6. OCLC 63129186. 
  4. ^ Colson, Nicole (2003-01-03). "Obituary: Joe Strummer" (SHTML). SOCIALISTWORKER.org. p. 9. Retrieved 2007-12-06. Strummer's lyrics blended well with guitarist Mick Jones' arrangements, and he steered the band toward a more overtly political message--as when he convinced Jones to change the song "I'm So Bored With You" (about Jones' girlfriend) to "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A.," a scorching rant against US imperialism and arrogance. 
  5. ^ Coplan, Chris (6 December 2013). "Arcade Fire covers The Clash's "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A."". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 13 May 2018. 

References[edit]