It disheartens me to hear anyone dismiss this album as anything less than the mighty, enduring, anthemic album that it is. Considering just how much average at best rock was doing the rounds at the time, this work stood out head and shoulders above the rest. The true test of great songs is how often you come back and listen again, and I still am nearly twenty years later.
Consider this - seven songs, every single one a distinct winner in it's own right. No fillers on this album, people. And don't let the 'session musician' sneer from others fool you - these boys all drip class, and all are operating outside of their comfort zone, with the exception of Steve Vai, who sounds like he could solo along to this forever without breaking a sweat. And Ginger Baker - even drumming for Hawkwind couldn't take him outside of his normal operating zone like this wonderfully eclectic mixture can.
So what are the highlights? For me, it is undoubtedly the sheer majesty of 'Ease', which is a build track in the extreme sense - the song develops into an astonishing soundscape of beauty and intricacy. You would be hard pushed to find an album closer that leaves you completely spent yet needing more all at the same time. Everything that leads up to the closing grandeur still hits the spot, though - every song has incredible depth, and hooks to drill into your brain. The tortured harmony vocals in the chorus of 'Home'. The apposite nature of guitar, drums and Lydon's vocals in 'Round'. The discomforting angularity of 'Bags'.
This album is a definite must have, not only for rock fans, but also for lovers of strong songwriting. I would stand this album against what is around today, and today will be found wanting. Buy it - you won't be disappointed.