To many, The Clash is the quintessential punk band; one of the founding fathers that helped to establish the genre and mould it into what it is today. “I’m So Bored With the U.S.A.” is the third track off of their debut album The Clash and serves as a great example of how the band viewed punk music. While a British band that dealt largely with political issues in the United Kingdom, “I’m So Bored With the U.S.A” critiques their neighbours across the pond and comments on things like drug abuse of U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War, the Government’s promotion of dictatorships in developing countries, the high number of murderers that roams the streets, and the President Nixon Watergate Scandal.
Punk was still relatively new in 1977 when The Clash was released and bands like The Sex Pistols made raw and unrefined music that was more about the message than the sound. The Clash proved that punk music could still critique societal and political injustices while also having a catchy and more developed sound. “I’m So Bored with the USA” does everything The Clash believed punk music should do by carrying a meaningful message all while sounding great. The instruments are limited to the classic rock and roll set up and include only a lead and rhythm guitar, as well as a bass and drums.
The song sounds like passionate and intense anger. Joe Strummer’s brash vocals combined with powerful guitar chords and feverish drumming give the already edgy song even more of a bite. The chorus is only three lines making it easy to angrily shout along with. While the instrumentation is nothing complicated, it doesn’t need to be. It uses only what it needs to create a track that’s heated, passionate, and stormy; everything that classic punk music should be.