Public Image

After the predictable implosion of the Sex Pistols, Johnny Lydon created a new band, Public Image Ltd.  Their first very song, uncreatively titled “Public Image,” also happens to be one of their most straightforward — many of the rest of the songs from their first album embrace discordant noise over forward drive, with Lydon and the lead guitar seemingly in some sort of competition to see which can make more of a racket.   But “Public Image” powers steadily forward.  Keith Levene, an former member of the Clash (who got kicked out, perhaps by Mick Jones, before they hit it big), drops sheets of guitar on top of a huge rhythm section. During the intro, the guitar takes one simple step up that feels immensely satisfying.  Then Lydon bursts through that sense of satisfaction with his strange howl.

 

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