After a crew change and some other ongoings, Public Image Ltd. became basically a solo Johnny Rotten/John Lydon project with a load of guests featuring on different tracks. This is the first official album release since The Flowers Of Romance was delivered back in 1981, does it still sound good today? Let’s find out.
We begin with Bad Life which begins with a weird keyboard sound, pounding drums, gurgling bass guitar and John Lydon singing away well in his inimitable voice. He sounds really excellent here, and sings away with a good vocal performance here. It’s surprisingly catchy here, and sounds interesting and excellent. There is some squealing saxophone here too. The song itself is really catchy and good listening, just sounding enjoyable all the same. A really cool tune, and John Lydon is on great form here. Nice stuff. The album title is chanted towards the end, a nice touch. Great stuff.
Next up is This Is Not A Love Song which begins with some multitracked vocals, before going into a really 1980s sounding piece that was a surprising hit single for John Lydon, with some horn sections here. It may be the case that John Lydon was not particularly doing original work here, but it doesn’t really matter. This was a big hit at the time for John Lydon, and does sound good. Somewhat repetitive however, but refreshing all the same. Good music, and no doubt one of the highlights of this album. Good listening here.
Solitaire comes next and has some real pounding beats in the intro, before going into a real 1980s sounding piece. It sounds very unusual for our rotten John Lydon to approach music like this, as it is mostly texture based. Still, an excellent listen all the same. It sounds really different and danceable here, and John Lydon sings very well here. Seemingly, he had moved on from the Sex Pistols, well and truly. The music here is really textured, and oddly enough, funky. Good, even if it was a sell out at the time. It ends with a bang.
Tie Me To The Length Of That begins with some backwards percussion sounds, some interesting bass guitar playing and eventually, drums and vocals. It’s a really weird piece that does sound good, and a bit strange, too. There is more saxophone in here, and this album seems more about textures and sonics than song structures. Still, it all sounds very impressive all the same. Some random lyrics are here as well, a really odd sounding piece, but still consistent enough to have a decent listen to. Very good listening here, it sounds very awesome and incredible all the same. It ends with some sped up tape trickery, which is different.
Next along is The Pardon which begins with some weird drum sounds, piano and other electronic textures here. It is an unusual mixture of sounds and textures, that is quite typical of this album, but fairly experimental too. A good mixture of strange beats, sonic sounds and experimentation, this is very odd indeed. John Lydon’s vocals come in and out of the mix, which sounds really cool and different. More a piece of sound and sonic experimentation, this is quite good, although clearly not really a song. In the second half, the vocals come into the fore and sound really good. John Lydon proved himself as a modern day poet here. Excellent piece of music and sounds here, although rather weird sounding. Good stuff by Mr. Rotten.
Following is Where Are You? which begins with some weird sonic sounds and percussion, before pounding kick beats enter. This is an odd piece of music that has a lot of strange sounds in the background, with John Lydon moaning over the top of it. Brilliant and effective, this is a wonderful slice of strange listening here. John Lydon was an underrated figure of the 20th century, and this album and songs like these prove why. He is also an underrated vocalist here, and sounds awesome with his screaming here. Great stuff, and very melodramatic here. It ends with a slowed down finale, nice stuff.
1981 comes along next, beginning with some digital sounds, loud pounding beats and some weird percussion and other sounds here. John Lydon sings brilliantly here, and this piece is definitely impressive. It’s a weird piece of music for a weird musical era. John Lydon chants for “more, more, more” and other demands, whilst the musical environment sounds pretty odd. Excellently suspenseful music, PiL do well here. Nice effort.
The Order Of Death is the last track here, with John Lydon chanting the album title (again) before the song kickstarts with some nice but unusual sonic experimental and mix of sound here. Great stuff, it is more a piece of sonic experimentation than anything else really. Good piece of music and a very nice finish to the album, and quite emotional sounding, too. It sounds as though John Lydon was marking new and original territory here, it sounds completely different to anything else out there. Decent music here, and very thought provoking. Very catchy, oddly enough. It fades out the main instrumental section, with looped vocals by John Lydon. Excellent stuff.
Many albums are underrated gems out there, and this is definitely one of them. John Lydon and co. have put 100% into this album here and have delivered an underrated and treasurable collection of music and songs here. Too bad it was seen as a “sell out” here, which it honestly is not. Sure, it may seem more Poppy, but John Lydon aka Mr. Rotten was only getting started here. Excellent music.
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