Great first album
djvampira | 11/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"According to Lydon most of the songs on this album were meant to be recorded by the Sex Pistols,but the other members,along with McClaren,thought the songs were too controversial. Ironic,eh?
My personal favorites are Public Image,Religion 1&2,and Annalisa. Religion 1&2 in particular are brilliant because of the stand that Lydon takes against the Catholic Church.Lydon grew up in a Catholic family and you can really feel his anger towards the church in the lyrics.
PiL were one of the best post punk bands in the 1980's and they have been sorely overlooked by people lately. I feel that they are just as important as Joy Division,in the sense that PiL influenced a ton of other bands. For me, they opened my eyes to a bunch of different styles of music from punk to funk.This is a great album by a great band.
John Lydon throws off the shackles of punk...
K. Crothers | Charleston SC | 03/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"but don't let the headline fool you into thinking that he's the main event here. Sure, his inventive vocals front the band, but the contributions of Keith Levene (guitar), Martyn Atkins (drums) and especially the driving and/or dubby bass of Jah Wobble are of at least the same importance. Although Metal Box/Second Edition gets a lot more press, this is the album that sounded the clarion call for the battle over the dead carcass of punk. And, in a twisted bit of irony, it also contains perhaps the poppiest song in the PIL discography (Public Image) which shoulda/coulda/woulda been a worldwide hit in a just world.
Inconsistent but influential post-punk classic
H. Jin | Melbourne, Australia | 12/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Public Image Ltd's debut album feels like a serious attempt by John Lydon to make an artistic statement after years of playing Bad Boy. He and the band branch out well beyond punk to incorporate elements of dub, disco, Krautrock, and even classic rock. Guitarist Keith Levene serves up a range of fractured, choppy wails that would become characteristic of post-punk, while bassist Jah Wobble lays down funk/dub-influenced thumps. At this early stage, not everything works, but its inconsistency is what makes 'Public Image' so interesting.
The relatively upbeat title track is easily the most accessible song here; elsewhere, things are much more scattershot. The grinding menace of the opener `Theme' features sludgy guitar lines that would influence post-punk, noise-rock and even grunge. The driving `Annalisa' is the closest thing a former punk could ever come to straightforward hard rock. The two `Religion' tracks vilify the title subject in spoken and sung form, while `Attack' sounds like a rejected B-grade Pistols demo.
Special mention must be made of the closer `Fodderstompf', a bizarre but brilliant Monty-Python-does-disco effort. The song features nothing more than a minimalist proto-trance beat and the band members singing "we only wanted to be loved!" in silly high-pitched voices. Surprisingly, it works equally well as a joke and as a legitimate artistic experiment.
You can easily see why those who expected `Never Mind The Bollocks Part 2' would have been confused by this album, and why it got so many negative reviews. The bold experiments, and their mixed success, can make the album seem like a giant middle finger by Lydon at his critics. But in hindsight, `Public Image' clearly lays the foundation for the more difficult and ambitious music of PiL's later work. No, not every song is good, but the album's best moments had an enormous influence on post-punk, alternative-rock, and dance. Seek it out.