it might not be a new studio album; but as compilations go this
really is top notch stuff. A superbly packaged singles compilation
featuring Public Image Ltd, Sex Pistols and Lydon solo work; plus
a new track! Throw in a bonus disc of 12" remixes and album
tracks; and if that wasn't enough there is also a separate DVD release
too. It's such a good idea I can't believe the record company didn't
try it years ago.
Rightly or wrongly I've
always looked on the Sex Pistols and PiL as completely different
things. And I have to admit at first I wasn't sure about having
them on the same compilation, but it really is amazing how well
they work together. You only have to listen to the first few tracks
to hear it. I mean what a way to start: 'Anarchy in the UK', 'Public
Image', 'This is Not a Love Song', 'Open Up.' Fuck's sake! How good
Taking the records out
of chronological order really was a masterstroke. It might be stuff
I've heard a million times before, but listening to it I was genuinely
excited to hear them work together. One after another, it's relentless!
It made me remember just how much I liked them; and why.
Make no mistake about
it this compilation isn't a case of John Lydon claiming all the
glory for these records and bands by himself (check the credits).
It's just a great way of showcasing the variety of his work. Obviously,
John is the common dominator here (and what does that tell you?),
but there's much more than that; there's a proper thread here. Through
PiL, through the Pistols, through his solo work, but you work it
out for yourself, that's the whole point. I know what they mean
I think this compilation
works on so many different levels it encompasses (almost)
As well as pandering to the casual, or potential
new fan, it also lets fans of each band or period – whether
it be early PiL, late PiL, Sex Pistols or whatever – have
access to a whole bunch of records they might not necessarily have
heard or own. It crosses a lot of divides. Which is a big part of
what John's music is all about. Every single record here is as relevant
as the next. Some of the stuff you love someone else might hate,
or vice versa. It makes them no less important.
For whatever bizarre
reason John's musical output is largely ignored these days. A lot
of this material just doesn't get played as much as it deserves,
but hopefully this compilation will bring a whole new audience to
a lot of this music. There really will be young kids out there who
will only know John from the Pistols or TV who are going to get
a very pleasant surprise. They might not get it all at once, but
they'll have fun going through it. These records change lives and
that's a fact.
This isn't a rarities
compilation for the hardcore fans, it's not about that. But that
said, even they can't really argue. It's a superb compilation that's
had a great deal of thought put into it; it's not some horrible
cash-in. If you don't want to buy it: don't. You're getting all
of John's singles; bar 'Pretty Vacant' and 'Memories' (and they
would have been there if they had fitted, but something had to give),
and with 20 remastered tracks crammed onto Disc 1 (and running to
over 75 minutes) no one can say it's not value for money. Given
that the original single version's are featured here, and tracks
like 'This is Not a Love Song' & 'World Destruction' have never
really had a proper CD release, there's more than enough to please
even the most cynical fan.
is also the option of the 'special edition' featuring a bonus disc
of a further 12 tracks handpicked by John (running to another 80
minutes). Although mostly compiled from extended 12" mixes
it also includes some of his favourite album tracks. It really is
great to hear underrated material like 'The Pardon' or 'Acid Drops'
mixing it with the big boys like the 12" mixes of 'Death Disco'
or 'Open Up'. It also gives the 2002 dance mix of 'GSTQ' a far wider
audience. At long last.
I absolutely love John's
artwork. It's very different in style to some of the other sleeves
he's done like 'Paris Au Printemps' or 'Psycho's Path'. I love the
colours and the attention to detail. Have you had a close look?
It's certainly not a case of the emperor's new clothes is it?
And onto the main event
A new song, at long last! 'The Rabbit Song!' A short and sharp burst
of what John's been up to on his work-in-progress second solo album.
A song of two halves. Cleverly catchy, but with a more sinister
sounding backdrop. Another classic Lydon musical contradiction.
The best way I could describe it would be to say it sounds like
a mixture of off-beat depth charges and a demented didgeridoo. Not
that's there's even a didgeridoo on it! Ha! It brings a smile to
my face every time I hear it. "That's how you do it, baby!"
While I'd love to hear
an extended version I honestly think John has just about packed
more lyrics into it than any other song on the compilation. More
a controlled chant than a rap, he twists the vocal and the pronunciation
the way only John Lydon can. Given the variety that's on display
here it really is a badge of honour that 'The Rabbit Song' doesn't
sound like anything else on the compilation. Of course, I don't
expect any of the other songs on his forthcoming album to sound
like this, but if it's anything to go by, it's going to be a real
treat. Have no doubt about it there's life in the old dog yet, he's
not about to go the way of the £1 note