Saturday, 21 July 2012

CD Review: Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols, by Sex Pistols (1977)


With the 1977 release of Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols, music crossed an attitudinal hurdle with no way back.

The short-lived punk movement's most famous album is a watershed moment. Crashing through as many taboo subjects as possible and delivering their message with an unprecedented snarl, the Sex Pistols exposed the dark side of disaffected youth and gave the disenfranchised a voice to celebrate. In the process, a previously forbidden avenue of celebrating the filthy underdog and brazenly insulting the elite was thrown open. Along that path would travel the evolution of all music in a multitude of genres.

I am an anti-Christ / I am an anarchist
Don't know what I want / But I know how to get it.
I wanna destroy the passer by /'Cos I wanna be anarchy
- from Anarchy In The U.K.

Johnny Rotten's vocals are the most memorable and startling aspect of Never Mind The Bollocks. Not trying to sing in the traditional sense, instead spitting the lyrics with nasally condescension and with the primary intention to maximize the broadcast value of the insult, Rotten redefined what vocal delivery can achieve.

God save the queen / The fascist regime
They made you a moron / Potential H-bomb
- from God Save The Queen

No topic is off limits, as the Sex Pistols have their blunt say on abortion, their record label, and the elitists in control of society in a package of empowering rebellion that marked the painful but irreversible forward lurch towards a more modern British society.

She was a no-one who killed her baby / She sent her letters from the country
She was an animal / She was a bloody disgrace
- from Bodies

Musically, the Sex Pistols found the outer edge of a tired rock scene, mixed in the emerging new wave of heavy metal ethic, and added short durations, energetic delivery and a dismissive attitude to create the prototypical punk sound. The metal influence is most noticeable on the brilliantly simple Problems, Steve Jones' guitar and Paul Cook's drums dominating with impressive ease and pointing the way for many anarchic walls of sound to be constructed in metal's future.

And you thought that we were faking / That we were all just money making
You do not believe we're for real / Or you would lose your cheap appeal?
- from EMI Unlimited Edition

The most famous tracks are also among the best on the album. Anarchy In The U.K. lives up to its name as an anthem to chaos, Rotten's anguished delivery pleading for his country to anoint him master of non-conformance and getting his wish. With a disproportionately jaunty rhythm again enlivened by Jones and Cook, God Save The Queen has the temerity to insult the monarchy and everything else that represents Britain's sharply defined class structure and its dead end economic consequences.

It is both sad and fitting that Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols was the band's one and only studio album release, fate dictating that a mammoth legacy needs to be defined by a singular event.


Band:

Johnny Rotten – Vocals
Paul Cook – Drums
Steve Jones – Guitar, Bass
Glen Matlock – Bass (on "Anarchy in the UK")
Sid Vicious – Bass guitar (on "Bodies")


Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Holidays In The Sun - 7
2. Bodies - 8
3. No Feelings - 8
4. Liar - 8
5. God Save The Queen - 10 *see below*
6. Problems - 10
7. Seventeen - 7
8. Anarchy In The U.K. - 10
9. Sub-Mission - 7
10. Pretty Vacant - 8
11. New York - 7
12. EMI Unlimited Edition - 8

Average: 8.17

Produced by Chris Thomas.
Engineered by Bill Price.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.



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