Is everybody (not standoffish with the 80s) happy?
The Drainpipe | Australia | 10/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lazy title identifies this as PiL's ninth album release, although it's the seventh studio album (and Lydon's second with the McGeoch/Dias/Smith nucleus). And it's another effective rebuttal to those who casually dismiss the latter-era, LA-based PiL. When plans for Bill Laswell to produce fell through, production chores were taken over by Simple Minds-cohort Stephen Hague (who specialises in lavish, art-of-noise production - and it shows here) and Eric "E.T." Thorngren. Like its predecessor "Happy?", "9" is steeped in unmistakable, archetypal 80s rock production, but if you accept it on its own merits, it's compelling nonetheless: synth-based, catchy, dancey hard rock (highlights include the opening "Happy" [why wasn't it on the previous album?], the airforce-bashing "U.S.L.S 1," the carnivalesque "Sand Castles In The Snow," and the synth-pinball chorus of "Same Old Story"). "Brave New World" has an incredible chorus, and "Like That" has an inherent goofy charm. "Warrior" boasts some embarrassing lyrics and musical touches, but "Disappointed" is one of the most stunning PiL songs, ever: great rousing music and Gospel vocals set to Lydon's cynical appraisal of friendship ("Disappointed a few people/When friendship reared its ugly head/Well, isn't that/What friends are for?"). Lydon is especially playful with his lyrics throughout, with liberal use of well-worn clichés ("The best things in this life are never free", "The devil takes care of his own", "Why should the devil have all the good tunes", "The emperor's new clothes", "The King and his castle," etc). His abrasive vocals don't chafe against the PiL/Hague musical environment of spiralling riffs and rhythms and gothic melodies, which makes this relatively accessible, as PiL albums go: wild and sprightly, but musically disciplined. In retrospect, "9" is probably PiL's most underrated release: infectious, likeable, brilliant."
A damn FINE Disney soundtrack
ostari | winston, maine | 01/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
I think the guy below was probably looking for some Sex Pistols-esque music, which, as Lydon admitted, really was "a sham". Punk was such a phony genre of music. It's even worse now. Too bad PIL isn't putting out any albums anymore, because they'd be a ray of sunshine and a huge dose of reality to all these I-Hate-Myself-And-Wanna-Die bands that are popular nowadays. It's true that the PIL albums from the generically-titled Compact Disk up to their final That What is Not are very Pop-sounding, but who cares? John Lydon's voice offsets the Popiness of the music a bit with his warbly and unique voice, and the songs themselves have great lyrics on a range of topics. 9 is a solid album, and there are a few songs I really love, like 'Warrior' which is about standing up and defending your land (not to be confused with being Nationalistic), the haunting 'USLS 1', and of course the Disneyfied 'Disappointed' which has those "damn backup singers". I find it funny that people have qualms about the backup singers, because they were nothing new at that point; John had been using them on at least two of his PIL albums before 9.
Ben Dover | sweden | 09/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"this album would be amazing if it werent for those goddamn backup singers.. they make it sound like its a disney soundtrack."