My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
(Something is goofy with the Spotify metadata on this album. It sometimes comes up as Second Edition and sometimes Metal Box, which are both valid names, it should be consistent. It also blacks out some of the songs and won’t play them unless you search them directly and play them individually.)
Brief Background: Metal Box is the second album by Public Image Limited, it is a double album (the first release was actually three 12″ records that played at 45 RPM) that was recorded and released in 1979. The album got its title, because it was originally released in a metal film canister. The album was rereleased in 1980 as Second Edition with a slightly different track order.
What I think: I really feel almost the same thing about this album as I did about First Edition and that is that the music and the lyrics feel like two separate pieces throughout. So, the music is again this pretty cool drum and bass dubs stuff with angular, metallic guitar. It’s not something I would listen to a lot, but it really has a great feel. I hear Gang of Four in it and then I hear the music of the next decade like The Pixies.
I’m having trouble though, because I can’t dismiss Lydon’s vocals outright on this one. Let’s take the first song “Albatross” as an example. The song is over ten minutes long and was improvised musically and lyrically. Well, musically you think, “They did some amazing stuff in that one take” and lyrically you think, “his improvisation skills suck”. The only thing is though is it really creates a visual image in my mind. Something like, it’s a cold, cloudy and windy London day. They are playing the song in a warehouse with broken windows and no heat. They are just scraping by, trying to create and live. I can feel how uncomfortable they are in there, but they keep going because there is nothing else to do. I don’t know if a song has given me such an image in a long time and it’s due to the experience of it that I’m having a hard time saying I don’t like it or I want to rate it poorly. So, I’ll give it more credit than I normally would, because it just may be a work of genius.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I cautiously agree that this album should be here.
Rating (Out of 5) 2.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (351/460)
Amount that are new to me: 76%
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