Week 44 (Just A Band 4 aka Final Just a Band)

sex pistols

Artist: The Sex Pistols
Album: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
Release Year: 1977

Overview

*warning* There is a bit of swearing in this album review but I think the Sex Pistols would have wanted me to swear as often as possible.

This week I listened to the Sex Pistol’s Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols. Notice that Never Mind is not spelled Nevermind. An entire generation of 90s kids were mislead into using the misspelling thanks to Nirvana. Even though my example is trivial it illustrates the point that the right album coming along at the right time in the right place can influence an entire generation. Never Mind the Bollocks is absolutely one those albums. It’s cultural and musical impact are unlikely to ever be repeated. Some of it is because of timing, but there’s also the fact that some of what happened is straight up batshit flipping crazy.

If you don’t know who the Sex Pistols are, that’s okay. They were formed over 40 years ago. For those who were around when the Sex Pistols were formed, you’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older. And now you’re older still. My condolences. The Sex Pistols are a punk band out of London, England. Excuse me. That’s not right. A more accurate statement would be they are THE punk band out of London, England. Unfortunately, I wasn’t alive in 1975 and I’m not from the UK. I can’t give a firsthand account of the before and after of this album being released. I can tell you that reading about the Sex Pistols has been interesting mind blowing and is worth your time a must read scenario. There is a Mount Everest worth of controversy created for a band that had broken up by 1978 after releasing their debut album in 1977. This combination of influence and controversy is what makes them incredibly fascinating even to this day.

I could spend this entire review talking about the band and their insane fuckery, but that’s not why you’re here. You came here for the music. Well I hope so. Otherwise, I should have written a biography instead of an album review.

The Review

What Works

  • The energy of this album is simply amazing. The Sex Pistols crank it up to 11 the entire time. The beginning track, Holidays in the Sun, starts out with the sound of an army marching. Then the bass drum kicks: Boom. Boom. Boom. Paul Cook, the Sex Pistols’ drummer, is providing a metronome for the military. Then four monster strikes of the guitar by Steve Jones. Within seconds, you know you are in for some serious shit to hit the fan. These guys are not screwing around. You pumped? Oh hell yeah, you fucking are.
  • Some people might not see punk music as having artistic value. My grandmother would probably call this album a bunch of rotten vicious noise. And she would be wrong. Very very wrong. Why? A multitude of reasons. But one that stuck out for me over and over while listening was the vocal phrasing for both the lead vocals and even the backup vocals.  John Lydon is a music god on this album. He knows exactly when to drag a word out and which parts of the word to drag out.  He often uses it to build up tension as the song progresses. Thus making it a perfect compliment to the rest of the instruments. But he can also shoot out vocals at a break neck speed thus ensuring the listener is never bored. I really don’t think this album would be as acclaimed as it is if it wasn’t for Lyndon’s masterful singing.
  • Lyrical content is another strong point of this album. Obviously, the songs questioning authority and society are setting up the future punk ethos.  It gets a bit more interesting when you start looking into all of the songs. One unexpectedly fascinating song is Bodies, which is an extremely graphic depiction of abortion. Many conservative groups have latched onto this song for its anti-abortion stance. Lyndon however contends it is neither pro-life or pro-choice (much like Ben Folds’ song, Brick, but with the word ‘fuck’ used quite a few more times). It’s more about capturing the emotions involved in song form than trying to take any kind of stance or convince somebody what their view should be. (I find that absolutely refreshing in today’s social climate) That’s art as fuck, right? Sex Pistols are far deeper than what your grandmother would have led you to believe.

What Doesn’t

  • The energy of this album, while amazing, is completely overwhelming. I know what you are thinking. I’m just getting old. Well, guess what? I am! But the Sex Pistols felt overwhelming even in my junior year of college when I first gave them a serious listen during my pop punk phase when I was trying to find out where punk came from. This is a great album to listen to a couple tracks every once in a while to get yourself pumped up. The blitz style guitar work alone should do that just fine.  However, even better, this is an album to sit down and listen to the record in one continuous sitting so you can fully appreciate it. What shouldn’t you do with this album? Listen to it on repeat for an entire week. Negan could have easily used this album to break Daryl on the Walking Dead. [ed. how long has this review been delayed?] Daryl might have been jamming to it in the beginning but eventually he would be begging for mercy.

Conclusion

This is isn’t an album for everyone but it is an album everyone should listen to because of the influence it has had on music and culture. I seriously do consider this a historic document of tremendous value because of the impact it had that still can be felt today. Never Mind the Bollocks is so incredibly well crafted and absolutely deserves any praise it gets. It’s never going to be in my regular rotation though. It’s too much for me.

Reviewer’s Note

This review is about 29 months overdue.  The review before that was 12 months overdue. To those who have been patiently waiting for my next review, you are amazing. And I’m sorry everything fell apart. I will not continue listening to anymore albums on repeat for a week at a time . Whenever I’ve explained to people what I did for this site, I feel like I am explaining the ramblings of a mad man. I still want to write reviews in the future of albums that interest me for this site but not this way.  It’s too much. In the past 29 months I have listened to tons of amazing music so I have no shortage of things to talk about.

Streaming/Purchase Links:
Spotify
Google Play Music
Amazon Music
iTunes

Information Links:
Wikipedia Artist
Wikipedia Album
Facebook
Twitter
Official Site

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Week 21 Review

This week I’m reviewing Acme 143 by Houston skate punk band, 30footFALL. The album was released in 1997 and finally put the band on the pop punk map following a set of well received records.     

5

Artist: 30footFALL {James “Butch” Klotz – vocals; Chris “Delron” LaForge – guitar, backing vocals; Rubio Cisneros – bass, backing vocals; Damon Delapaz – drums}
Album: Acme 143
Year: 1997
Genre: Skate Punk
Rating: 4/5

Worth Your Time? For those who want to know more about pop punk than just Blink-182’s MTV years. (Not knocking Blink-182.)

Twitter Review: While not unique, 30footFALL accurately demonstrates all the qualities that made me fall in love with punk in the first place on Acme 143.

Note: I did not use YouTube this time for links because I had a hard time finding every track I wanted to mention. Instead, I decided to use Grooveshark for everything.

Top 3 Tracks:

  1. Cheese
  2. Entertainment vs. Enlightenment
  3. Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me

Things to Look For:

  • Snarky Punk Attitude. Butch does a great job with the lyrics (and vocals) as he balances social commentary with bathroom humor. He isn’t afraid to point out issues within the punk community with songs like Entertainment vs. Enlightenment, Punk Rocks in Your Head and Bad Hair Day Punks to challenge the audience as they bounce around in the mosh pit. But he keeps them bouncing with songs like Cheese and Constipation. The punk genre is interesting because it highly encourages thinking for yourself instead of adopting values of given group or society at large. This is plainly illustrated in the song, People Are Stupid. But even 30footFALL would be incredibly disappointed if you blindly adopted their world view. Analysis and introspection are critical components of being a good punk.
  • Best Insult Ever. Halfway through Cheese, Butch starts delivering a monologue about a girl who insulted his music while he was at work. He hurls back devastating weird insults towards her like “Your momma got gold nipples” but then he goes in for the kill and drops the atomic bomb with “You got a rip in your couch” which is followed a menacing deep growl as the song temporarily switches to nu metal territory. Ripping on her couch is without a doubt my favorite moment on the album. It makes me smile every time I hear it.
  • Movie Quotes. The album opens up with a quote from Girls Just To Have Fun on Urine Nation, does two quotes from Friday on Constipation and has a quote from Saturday Night Fever on Bad Hair Day Punks. Interestingly (or maybe not), all three movies feature actors that would see serious success later on in their careers. This group of actors include Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Tucker and John Travolta.
  • Weirdest Chorus Ever Sung in My Car. Feel Like Morrissey is a very catchy tune on the album. It even has the obligatory hand claps. While driving, I couldn’t help but sing along to the chorus every time it was playing which was “Band-aids on my nipples cause I feel like Morrissey.” Besides a unique chorus, it oddly also features a flute solo. 30footFALL really does do what they want.

Low Points: I really did enjoy listening to this album all week. I was worried that now that I’m in my 30s that I would start to lose that connection I had with punk in college. I’m happy to report it is as fun and inspiring as ever. However, it doesn’t mean this album was perfection. About 3/4th the way through songs start blending together. I think this is a combination of two aspects of the album. The first being the lack of variety in tempo. Pretty much every track is of one of three speeds: fast, medium fast and fast medium. The second would be a limited selection of song topics. A lot of them fall in the same general area. So I think it takes someone familiar with the genre to appreciate the subtle differences between songs. For someone who spends most of their time with other kinds of music, these problems will only be magnified. But I would hope that you take the time to give it a listen. You might end up being as captivated as I was and start a lifelong punk love affair.

Anything Else: The last song I would like to discuss is the hidden track Like the Band Survivor That Wrote the Song Eye of the Tiger. At roughly 2 minutes and 40 seconds, they start beatboxing a techno beat as a group making all sorts of goofy noises. What really stuck out for me was how eerily similar this was to the hilarious flash video, Strong Bad’s Email: Techno, which is legendary among my group of friends. If you have no idea who Strong Bad is, seriously consider checking out Homestar Runner’s website. It will make you better person. Probably not but it is freaking hilarious.

Additional Links: