Review Revue: Public Image - First Issue

Yes, this is my third post featuring an album by John Lydon’s (apparently) controversial post-Sex Pistols group, Public Image Ltd., aka PiL. Except, what’s that? There’s no “Ltd” on this record? It’s just Public Image? Yes, that does seem to be the case. This is the band’s first album, arriving so early in their existence that they hadn’t finished naming themselves yet.

With this post, PIL has now become the most-blogged band in this series (not counting my Jandek-a-palooza one-off a while back), but it’s not for nothing. Whether their first release or their fifth, apparently nothing gets the college-radio-DJ debate going like PIL. Although, given that this copy of First Issue was added to the catalog well after its original release date, it seems much of the debate here is about the merits or (or lack thereof) of later-period PIL. First Issue‘s quality appears to be without debate.

This Is PiL, the band’s first studio album in 20 years, was released just this May (between that news and upcoming new releases from No Doubt and Green Day, I’m starting to feel like I’m in high school all over again). I’m sure our KCMU commenters would have quite a bit to say about it.

“Finally. Their first and arguably their best. Contains the spoken word version of ‘Religion,’ ‘Public Image,’ and the masterpiece ‘Fodderstompf.’ Makes that last LP look like the shit failure it was.” [This copy isn't dated, so unfortunately I can't tell which LP Bone Head here is talking about.]

“I agree w/Bone Head - I think Lydon’s done too many drugs to know what he wants. Fodderstompf kick butt. DON’T STEAL THIS! We’ve had at least two copies before!” [Ah man, I can only imagine what was written on those copies!]

“Now wait just a minute there, Dave. Then and now, Lydon is doing exactly what he wants to do, and it’s all good in its own right. Surely he’s the last person in the world we would expect to remain stagnant.”

“You have bought it hook, line, & sinker. HAHAHA!”

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3 Comments

  1. Ipswitch
    Posted July 26, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    This record expanded my concept of music. I went into it expecting something like the Sex Pistols but what I got was miles away. At the time, I would have lifted it from KEXP too.

  2. Damon Creed
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    If the comments are contemporaneous with the sticker on there about them playing the Moore Theater, that would’ve been 1989. The album at the time that Bonehead is likely referring to is the PiL album “9.”

  3. Ugo
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    “Except, what’s that? There’s no “Ltd” on this record? It’s just Public Image? Yes, that does seem to be the case. This is the band’s first album, arriving so early in their existence that they hadn’t finished naming themselves yet.”

    Actually, they had finished naming themselves. The “Ltd” part of the name was used on the newspaper cover for the single of the song, Public Image, which was released prior to this album. Also, on the LP label (as well as both sides of the inner sleeve), it says “PiL”, so that “L” must stand for something. And also the back cover says PublicIMagEltd above the picture of Wobble where the letter sizes are modified to say PIME as a riff on TIME magazine. Just sayin’.

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