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Anarchy On The Airwaves #3: Album Review - Nevermind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols

Updated on May 28, 2013

Total Anarchy

I have been wanting to try my hand at complete album reviews for a while, and seeing as I've talked quite a bit about about this album already and I'm sure some of you are getting a bit tired of it, I figured it would be best to get all of the praise I have for this album out of my system. Below is a track by track examination of what I believe to be without question, the greatest punk album ever recorded. I will be going over the American track listing as that is the one I am most familiar with.

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Holidays In The Sun

The opening track, the song details a trip by the band from London to the island of Jersey and then later to Berlin. it describes their view of the island and of looking over the Berlin wall at the other side. A very straight forward rocker with a sort of ironic happy nature to it.

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Bodies

Spoken about the shocking tales of a Sex Pistols fan who had been locked institute where she had been the victim of sexual assault from the nurses and had had several abortions. Without question the most lyrically shocking song on the album and musically much darker than the opener as well. It should also be noted that this is the only song Sid Vicious was actually able to play his bass on.

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No Feelings

My favorite track on the album, this is just a hilarious narcissistic sounding song with such classic lines as "I'm in love with myself, my beautiful self", "I see you in the mirror and the story began", and of course, "no feelings for anybody else". I always saw this one as a take on all of the preppy higher up types (though that could just be my resentment of the popular kids in high school when I first bought this album).

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Liar

Another pretty much straight forward song, think of everything you've ever wanted to say to someone when you knew they were lying straight to your face, and they probably say it in this song. It is definitely one of the more relate-able songs on the album.

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God Save The Queen

One of the most famous songs on the album, as well as the first Sex Pistols song I ever heard, directly mocking the British monarchy both by taking the title of the British national anthem and through it's lyrics, if there was ever song a song that could be named as the official anthem of the British punk movement, summing up every rebellious thought a young punk should have.

Problems

Another one of the more rebellion themed songs on the album, multiple topics including the age old teenage question of "why am i here?", declaring never to have a straight job, a resistance to being famous, and I think psychiatrists. Sort of an all encompassing song if you just want to get all of your rebellions in if you just need a quick shot of it.

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Seventeen

"I'm a lazy sod". What more needs to be said? Probably the least amount of and most simple (fittingly enough) lyrics on the album, and yet pretty much everything you could ever think of that the most annoying seventeen year old in your life has ever done can be found in this song, or at the very least bring back some fun memories of when you were such an age.

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Anarchy In The UK

If "God Save the Queen" is the British rebel's anthem, this song is British punk rebellion incarnate. Full of anger, spite, rage, and a delightful sounding call for anything that involves throwing rocks and burning stuff down, no song will make you understand just what exactly the Sex Pistols were all about better than this one right here.

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Submission

Musically I think this is the most unique song on the album. It has a much slower groove to it than the rapid fire power chords of the previous songs, but very catchy at the same time. Lyrically, supposedly it was written to spite Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, who had asked them to write a song about a sex shop he owned, and instead got a song about submarines.

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Pretty Vacant

Another song most people know the Sex Pistols for, one of their highest charting singles and the song that got them their only appearance on Top of the Pops, that just picks on all of those pretty people we love to laugh at, with an emphasis on the last syllable of "vacant" to make it sound like a very naughty word. Interesting tidbit, the riff was inspired by Abba.

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New York

Most sources agree that this song is a swipe at the band the New York Dolls, both out of a dispute over who was influenced by who, and Malcolm McLaren's desire to have the Sex Pistols be more like them, originally trying to have some members of the New York Dolls in a band that he would manage. One of the angrier songs on the album definitely.

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EMI

A rallying cry against the label that dropped them (one of many), the Sex Pistols had signed a two year contract with the label, when it dropped them in a matter of months after some of their behavior had gotten some notoriety in the press. No subtlety, no concealing, Johnny Rotten's anger with the label is out on full display and man is it awesome (the first of many anti-EMI released to come I might add).

Final Rating

From me, this album gets a solid 10/10. A perfect punk rock experience from start to finish.

There You Have It

My first attempt at an album review. That should quench my Sex Pistols gushing for a while. Please feel free to correct any factual information I may have missed or to add your own and if there is an album you would like me to review, feel free to leave it below in the comments.

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    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Indeed an influential album. You done a fine job on the review smcgavin1 :)

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