Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Public Image Ltd. - This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get

Today (July 9th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get, the fourth studio album from Public Image Ltd. It peaked at number 56 on the UK charts. Five of the tracks were re-recordings or reworkings of songs from the band's 1983 bootleg album Commercial Zone.

Side one begins with pounding percussion of "Bad Life". As the second single, it stalled at number 71 in the UK. The album’s title comes from the chorus of this very danceable track.

"This Is Not a Love Song", the first single, hit number 5 in the UK. Another dance track, this one continues to get a good bit of airplay today on places like Sirius/XM’s First Wave. Lydon has gone on record to say that this one was a response to the record label asking him to produce something commercial like a love song.

I really dig the bass groove on "Solitaire", a track that criticizes someone for talking about things without taking any action.

"Tie Me to the Length of That" is a commentary on the first moments of life after birth. Here Lydon may have been working out his own issues with his parents. The music is very cold and clinical.

Side two opens with initial cacophony from "The Pardon", but it eventually comes into a bit more focus by the time the lyrics start up about half way in. The end result is a tribal chant that does not do a lot for me, personally.

On "Where Are You?", I instantly pictured Lydon as a former lover, very drunk, who is stumbling his way through a crowded party and rudely shouting out for her at the top of his lungs. The whole thing comes to a very agitated head towards the end.

"1981" has a quirky beat that is interesting. The lyrics reflect upon events in Lydon’s life from the title year. Of the offerings on this side, this is the first one that really stuck with me.

The record closes with "The Order of Death", one of the newly written tracks. It opens with a repetition of the album’s title. It then spirals to the point of contemplation of suicide. The simplicity of the lyrics really works.

This was my first listen to most of this album. I knew “This Is Not a Love Song” but none of the others. For me, it started out very strong and ended up fairly well. The middle section though includes songs I likely would not revisit often, if I even owned the record.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Have always loved "This Is Not A Love Song" and its chorus of "this is what you want/this is what you get" is a personal mantra.