Kiss This! is great value, as it is all of Never Mind the Bollocks (out of sequence) with b-sides and the odd single included: a 20-track primer into the joys of Rotten, Jones, Cook, Matlock & Vicious. It's the best compilation, as it leaves off post-Lydon drivel like No One is Innocent & the sad Cochran covers, but does include things like My Way & Silly Thing that have their own charms also. I'd argue, for historical purposes, to include Belsen Was a Gas & No Fun from Winterland- the former shows the nihilistic brickwall that Lydon would surmount with PIL's Theme, while the latter was the greatest exit ("Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"). But this, Lydon's memoir (No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs) & Julien Temple's The Filth & The Fury are all you need from the Sex Pistols...
It opens with those anthems- Anarchy in the UK, God Save the Queen & Pretty Vacant: great pop songs delivered with complete panache (Chris Thomas probably needs mentioning). The lyrics do actually say something- Rotten/Lydon a precursor of people like Morrissey, Kevin Rowland & Mark E Smith, his lyrics cutting to the point with amphetamine accuracy. & the phrasing is great- "we're so pretty, oh so pretty, we're VAY-****"!!!!). Holidays in the Sun is even better, even if Paul Weller claims he was ripped off- & its Berlin Wall themes sound interesting from a 1989 point of view, as well as a 1977 one.
Non-album tracks like I Wanna Be Me and Did You No Wrong are great- the former asserts individuality that most punk fans wouldn't get and remains relevant with all these sad retro bands of late. Did You No Wrong would have made a great single, a great pop song, "going out of my head!". No Fun is even better than The Stooges original, Lydon's opening rant a form of proto-rap ("it's time for a sociology lecture...") and an example of a great cover version. Like Husker Du's Eight Miles High or The Clash's Brand New Cadillac, it's superior to the original. The music is kind of limited rock & roll, which tracks like Satellite, Don't Gimme No Lip & a cover of Steppin' Stone (which amusingly I'm a Celebrity hosts Ant&Dec also covered!) demonstrate. Lydon would advance into music as exciting as his lyrics with PIL & this lot would influence loads of acts in the punk/post-punk era. Without them, no Joy Division, Wire, Slits, Buzzcocks, Undertones, Clash, Gang of Four etc. Still, it's all good primal rock, like Motorhead or AC/DC...
The latter half of the album takes in the Nevermind...-tracks that weren't singles- Bodies utterly violent stuff & then four tracks that fly by: No Feelings, Liar, Problems, Seventeen- they had hit on a brilliant chemistry. Problems would stand up as a song performed by anyone- wait for the Justin Timberlake cover. Even better is Submission, Rotten having been asked by McLaren to write a song about bondage- so Rotten opted to write about a submarine mission instead! The music is almost funky and played against something like Death Disco, it's evident where Lydon might be heading next. New York & EMI are wonderful ripostes to the moment, The Sex Pistols seemed so present tense!
Rotten/Lydon left and McLaren carried on the b(r)and for a while longer- The Great Rock & Roll Swindle and all that- fortunately we get just two tracks from this era. My Way is the best thing Sid Vicious sang (the Cochran covers were too sad, showing how unrevolutionary punk was in some ways), an amusing vocal that must have influenced Shane MacGowan's vocal delivery on something like The Irish Rover. It's also used at the climax of Martin Scorsese's masterpiece Goodfellas (1990), the scene where Henry Hill ungratefully gripes about living in the witness protection programme cos they can't get the sauce right, then we see Joe Pesci's character shoot at the screen. It's very Sid and very punk rock and has made this song more charming for me. Silly Thing (the original title a little bluer) is a good song also, Steve Jones takes lead vocals and sounds not unlike...Joe Strummer! Lydon even likes it- an epitaph for a band that didn't exist anymore...
Kiss This! is great stuff and the ideal primer in Lydon's career, along with PIL's Greatest Hits...So Far; though no doubt, following Lydon's TV appearance, Virgin will put out another compilation. Bet it's called 'I'm Johnny...get me out of here!'- still, if it has that Timezone/World Destruction & Leftfield/Open Up singles on, I won't complain! Every home should have a Sex Pistols record and this is probably the one...
on 20 June 2011
TOTP July '77 and for those of us in the sticks the first chance to see the Sex Pistols - my schoolmate had a Daily Mirror and showed us the TV page said they were gonna be there. Having only ever seen the 'mock' aggression of Glam bands (and didn't know about Stooges, '60's Who, JLLewis etc etc) this was a revelation. Grainy footage of genuinely young, don't-give-a-flying-anything-about-anything yobs. Sneering, swaying, swaggering - invading your living room. 'Pretty vacant' indeed. This kind of thing had never been seen on primetime TV before. Unnerving, compelling and fantastically exciting. In truth the Pistols were in lots of ways a medium paced pub band with Dolls/Who licks. Never fast - a juggernaut not an express train - but it was their attitude, in lyrics, singing and style of playing, that made them essential. This collection gathers up the whole of their only LP, adds the B-sides of those classic 76/77 45s and throws in a couple of early versions of covers of songs that could have been written for them; 'No Lip Child', 'Stepping Stone'. Thankfully it steers clear of all the dross created for the incredibly lame 'Swindle' save 'My Way' (cartoon nonsense) and the harmless singalong 'Silly Thing'. If you're really lucky you may track down a copy with the bonus live in Trondheim disc, the '77 Sid incarnation showing that even by then their future was pretty much washed up. They burned briefly but few burned as brightly and those of us who got scorched, no matter how vicariously, have reason to be very grateful.
on 12 August 2012
The sex pistols came at a time when music needed a shot in the arm. Glam rock had ended, and we were being subjected to some of the worst music in history "Our Kid", "The Worzells" "Rick dee and his cast of idiots with Disco duck, not to mention Dave Lee Travis and Paul Burnnet. Puck was really no different to Rock "n"roll and bough the music back to basics, and the Sex pistols although not the first were the most important. Anarchy In The U.K, is still a fantastic song making the top 10, but when God save the queen came along (originally titles No Future) the group would never be forgotten, besides the controversy the song is brilliant, and left a blank in the chart for the first time ever. Pretty Vacant was for me there best moment and the reason I purchased this as hearing the song played in the opening of the Olympic games. I have never mind the bollocks on its original vinyl but never bought a CD of the Pistols so I purchased this, all the tracks from never mind the bollocks are here and many more. However listing to this CD like listening to a transistor radio on medium wave it is awful, no base no drums punching out at you Rotten's voice is there but is lost in this master. I decided to play the album as I could not remember it sounding this bad, it did not, the original album still sounds like you have been punched in the face, I have no idea what happened with this issue but to say it sounds like a copy of a low quality cassette would be in some ways kind as it is worse. So be warned this has the tracks but to atmosphere at all Punk is meant to be loud and sound great with rip roaring base and smashing drums, The sex Pistols defined that but not on this master
on 26 January 2016
Bought this rather than "Never mind the Bollocks" as it had the whole of the "Bollocks" on it plus the single b sides - everything they released with J Rotten, plus post - JR "My Way" and "Silly Thing", which are crap in my opinion, but don't detract from the absolute 5-star classic releases of the original lineup. This music sounds just as amazing and fresh as when I first heard it. For a full run-down of the album see A. Customer's excellent review.
on 5 December 2001
I have to say that it was Never Mind the Bollocks that changed my life. It was it's 'fault' that I got intrested in punk, stuff and of course the Sex Pistols. But you want to hear more! On Kiss This are the great tracks from NMTB, but not only that. There are also many b-sides from the Sex Pistols' singles, and they're great! It's true that the Sex Pistols is dead, but it still sounds alive, timeless and rebellious. You know, the songs make you to want to change the world. It was the time when they did really mean it, maaaan.