Second Edition

Second Edition

After the self-destruction of the Sex Pistols, singer Johnny Rotten reclaimed his given name of John Lydon and formed Public Image Ltd. with guitarist Keith Levene and bassist Jah Wobble and a variety of drummers. Their first album, released in the U.S. as First Issue years after the fact, was a caterwauling of post-Pistols guitar distortion and Lydon raving in the wake. Second Edition was initially released as three 12” 45s crammed in a film canister as Metal Box, before being issued as a standard 2-LP set. The music is unlike anything else the band had ever recorded. It went deeper into dub dynamics, with Wobble’s bass often leading the attack on instrumentals such as “Socialist” and “Graveyard” and the lyrical declamations of “Albatross,” where Lydon swears off his previous life. Echoes of Amon Düül II and Krautrock in general can be heard throughout these performances, which are highlighted by the fantastic “Swan Lake” and “Memories,” where the music finds a completely new gear to shift up to. Quite simply, along with its follow-up The Flowers of Romance, one of the greatest albums of any era.

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