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Public Image Limited - Public Image (Cover Artwork)

Public Image Limited

Public Image Limited: Public ImagePublic Image (1978)
EMI Group

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: ngs091ngs091
(others by this writer | submit your own)

AND NOW A SPECIAL WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS: " FUCK THE MAN!" Or, so you may be yelling that phrase from the top of your local chapel after one listen to Public Image Ltd.'s 1978 album, Public Image. As you may or may not know (depending if you're cool or not), PiL (that's at least what the cool.
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AND NOW A SPECIAL WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS:

" FUCK THE MAN!"

Or, so you may be yelling that phrase from the top of your local chapel after one listen to Public Image Ltd.'s 1978 album, Public Image. As you may or may not know (depending if you're cool or not), PiL (that's at least what the cool kids say, or so I am told) was a post-punk project by John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) after the Sex Pistols splintered in 1978. The group also featured Keith Levene (a member of an early Clash lineup), drummer Jim Walker and bassist Jah Wobble (birth name: John Wordle.)

Well, now that we are done with the foreplay of this review, it is time to get to the real bread 'n butter, baby! This first album by PiL should not, I repeat, SHOULD NOT, be a laughing matter -- well, except for the goofy closing song, "Fodderstompf," a song that because of its high-pitched vocal reminds me of the Cure's cover of "Foxey Lady," off that band's first album, Three Imaginary Boys. Yet, that is me naturally blowing an off-topic wad of 7 degrees of music -- like that game surrounding Kevin Bacon and shit.

Yet, I will make this clear about Public Image -- this album is fucking pissed off! From the death disco of the opener, "Theme," with its chilly chorus of, "And I wish I could die!" to its second-to-last song, "Attack," with a middle section that is nearly chanted under an equal volume of noise as "You who sits on golden arses, while tinkering your cocktail glasses" gets you into PiL's political fervor. These examples show that even if this proto-noise rock is sometimes heard with a sense of "been there done that" due to what the noise rock world has produced in this album's wake more than 30 years after its initial release, it's still mightily timely.

"Attack" bespeaks about the bureaucrats who only see war through hearsay while living like rich, fat cats. In Lydon's world those who disagree with him are simply ignorant to the world around them. The evil "You" in this rant that is known to make life-and-death choices is probably just as connoted now in the George W. Bush era than it was back then in England. Especially for Americans like myself who believe that we seem to be living with an abundant amount of pure-capitalist interest in our government for a select few, instead of for the greater good of societal interest.

Whether it's the harsh diatribe stance Lydon takes in "Religion I" and "Religion II" or the anti-conformity and materialism that is sing-spoken on the title track, the political stance in the lyrics is accentuated by the guitar's noisy bursts that slithers in and out of the speakers like a drunken snake. While Jah Wobble's bass gives the sonics its immense danceable quality, such as on a song like "Annalisa," the subtlety here provides a ying to the splintery and noisy guitar of Levine's yang.

Yet, admittedly, if you were to base Wobble's fame on this album (as many believe he's one of the better bassists in history) I would have to admit that it's really not until song six ("Low Life") of the nine-song album that Wobble's bass becomes more than a good backbone to the guitar racket. Yet, I will also admit that it is also at that point in the album that its quality is not as fine as the prior two-thirds. As "Low Life" may be a good, Sex Pistols-ish song that's even catchy and danceable, sadly, it goes on a bit too long. "Attack," again, feels a bit too noisy for its own good, and "Fodderstompf" could end a lot earlier than it does…I mean, like really, a lot.

So, with "Fodderstompf's" final few seconds of quirky gibberish, no one can confuse Public Image of appealing to the masses. This makes it quite a feat for back in 1978, and yes, especially even now in these dark and conservative times.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
john_stone (October 24, 2008)

If you want to get technical, "fucking" is a gerund. It is most certainly not a verb. It's also VERY commonly used, albeit without much inherent meaning, as an adjective.

FranklinStein (October 23, 2008)

"you'll dance to anything, anything, anything..."

discofucker (October 23, 2008)

Jesus, did you use enough parentheses in the first paragraph?

Anywho, decent album. Second Edition is much better.

deadxlast (October 23, 2008)

I don't like this band, but this comment is to say that "fucking" is not a verb. "Fuck" is a verb. When you put a suffix like "-ing" on it, it means that someone is performing an action, we're no longer talking about the action itself.

Score is for SydBarret420.

ngs091 (October 22, 2008)

The below posts is not meant to sound deferential, but I feel like I must point out some aspects of my review out.…

1. I believe my use of the f-word is legit. I may be street slang more than anything, but everyone, I mean everyone, uses it and knows what it means.

2. I know Lydon is more of a Poser than he lets on, (he does file lawsuits like mad,) but he is still a solid artist. The two are separate.

3. To-- SF Barker, Etc….

If my review did come off as mostly rubbish, I apologize. I was trying to be humorous, and thought the song Fodderstompf would be a good reason to break from the intellectual style that some would get into. I did, however, try to balance those two opposites enough, or so I hope.

Read some of my other reviews in my profile, I hope you like them. If not, that is of course your opinion, to each his own. However, in all seriousness, still thank you for commenting.

Again,

Thanks, everyone for the comments, it will better my writing in the future,

Nick Schwab (ngs091)

Sliced-T (October 22, 2008)

and by "this" I mean "this guy". And by "idiot" I still mean him.

Sliced-T (October 22, 2008)

Quick! Somebody get this the definitions of literal, figurative and slang. Then kick in the balls for being a fucking idiot.

SydBarrett420 (October 22, 2008)

No that doesnt work, the word "fucking" is a verb describing intercourse, observe:

John Lydon is a fucking idiot.

I'm not saying the word "fuck" cant have different uses, but the specific word "fucking" is a verb.

INDW (October 22, 2008)

fuck is such a fantastic word because it can be used not only as a verb but as an adjective, noun and just about anything else in between, observe:

"the fucking fucker's fucking fucked!"

brilliant!

Sliced-T (October 21, 2008)

Anti-establishment and and Anti-money are 3 different things my friend.

Sure the guy is kind of a cock, but I'll give him a lot of respect as an artist.

crackpotdemagogue (October 21, 2008)

score is for failing to mention that john lydon is an egocentic capitalist greed-head, and that his 'anti-establishment' sentiments have only ever been in the name of 'posturing'

Cos (October 21, 2008)

I've played the song "Public Image" 10 times in a row on more than one occasion.

DrGunn (October 21, 2008)

i love second edition. i should probably get this at some point.

mightybombjack (October 21, 2008)

>I know, write my own review rather than bitch...but what is up with the oddball stuff people write now. The final few paragraphs pull it together and are semi-well written, but the beginning is lame, hipster sounding garbage. Quit it.

well said. and why is 9 so damn hard to find?

blip (October 21, 2008)

so weird that something John Lydon was involved with could be so good. but yeah...PiL is the bee's knees.

xote (October 21, 2008)

I Love PIL.

sfbarker (October 21, 2008)

I know, write my own review rather than bitch...but what is up with the oddball stuff people write now. The final few paragraphs pull it together and are semi-well written, but the beginning is lame, hipster sounding garbage. Quit it.

theonetruebill (October 21, 2008)

Not nearly as good as Metal Box/Second Edition (which is UNSTOPPABLE) but still really memorable. The title track and "Religion" are two of my favorite Lydon songs ever.

Fun fact - over the last year or so I've listened to exponentially more PiL than the Pistols. If that's not proof of getting older I don't know what is.

SydBarrett420 (October 21, 2008)

Score is for the continued use of the word "fucking" to describe something when the word "fucking" is actually a verb.

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