Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros Streetcore (Hellcat) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
This posthumously assembled album of tracks Joe Strummer was working on when he died last December is actually better than the circumstances suggest, and an improvement over the two prior Mescaleros discs. The title may be misleading, though, since Streetcore (out Tuesday) presents Strummer in a more chilled, reflective mood. He's still dabbling with blues, gospel and reggae flavas, but all rabble-rousing aspirations of raising up the underclasses and righting the world's wrongs are long gone. Fittingly enough, the acoustic-oriented tunes he demo'd with Rick Rubin for Johnny Cash's farewell album now serve as Strummer's own poignant sign off.