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Music: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols.

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols is the debut studio album by The Sex Pistols, released in 1977. Discounting the soundtrack The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle as well as their live albums, it is also their only album. Infamous, controversial and very influential, it's seen as a landmark album between the psychedelic and art rock era of the late 1960s and the back to basics simple rock sound of the punk and new wave era of the late 1970s. Today it's widely regarded as one of the best, most influential and most important rock/punk albums in music history.

The record collects four of the group's hit singles: "Anarchy In The UK", "God Save The Queen", "Holidays In The Sun" and "Pretty Vacant" and adds a handful of other songs. There is no pretentiousness. It's not a Concept Album. The album cover art is simple and lacks great detail or effort. The lyrics don't try to provide any socially redeeming values or messages. Nor do they sugar-coat anything. There is no attempt to appeal to the mainstream. Guitarist Steve Jones played bass for the vast majority of the album, and the incompetent Sid Vicious appears on only one song ("Bodies"). Former bassist Glen Matlock appears on "Anarchy In The UK". The lead singer, Johnny Rotten, can't sing and doesn't try to hide his working class roots and accent. Each song is short and to the point. The music is primitive, not melodic in the traditional sense, but effective.

Never mind the bollocks, indeed.

A documentary about the creative process behind the making of this album can be seen in the Classic Albums TV documentary series.


Tracklist:

  1. "Holidays In The Sun" (3:22)
  2. "Bodies" (3:03)
  3. "No Feelings" (2:51)
  4. "Liar (2:41)
  5. "God Save The Queen" (3:20)
  6. "Problems" (4:11)
  7. "Seventeen" (2:02)
  8. "Anarchy In The UK" (3:32)
  9. "Submission" (4:12)
  10. "Pretty Vacant" (3:18)
  11. "New York" (3:07)
  12. "EMI" (3:10)


Principal Members:

  • Paul Cook - drums
  • Steve Jones - guitar, bass, vocals
  • Glen Matlock - bass
  • Johnny Rotten - lead vocals
  • Sid Vicious - bass


Pretty Vacant Tropes:

  • Absentee Musician: Both Glen Matlock and Sid Vicious on this album. The former left the band prior to recording this album, but appeared on "Anarchy In The UK" before his departure. The latter was being treated for hepatitis (or at least that was a good excuse, considering that Sid couldn't really play) so he only appeared on "Bodies". As a result, it is Steve Jones that did most of the bass playing on this album.
  • Accentuate the Negative: "Bodies" sums it up best.
    Fuck this and fuck that!
  • Anarchy: "In the U.K.", but also on the entire album.
  • The Antichrist: Rotten claims to be an Antichrist in "Anarchy In The UK"
  • Anti-Love Song: "No Feelings"
    You better understand I'm in love with myself, my beautiful self
  • Anti-Role Model: "No Feelings"
    I look around your house/ you got nothing to steal/ I kick you in the brains when you get down to kneel/ and pray, you pray to your god.
  • B-Movie: "Holidays in the Sun":
    ''This cheap B-Movie show'
  • Being Watched: "Holidays In The Sun"
    I'm looking over the wall AND THEY'RE LOOKING AT ME!!!!!
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: "No Feelings"
    I kick you in the brains when you get down to kneel
    And pray, pray to your god.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor/The Man Is Sticking It to the Man "EMI", a jab against their former record company.
  • Black Comedy: It's cynical, but it's funny at the same time.
  • Born Unlucky: "God Save The Queen"
    There's no future, no future, no future for you
  • British English: "Seventeen"
    I'm a lazy sod
  • British Royal Family: Main target in "God Save The Queen".
  • Brutal Honesty: Taboos weren't spared.
  • Burning with Anger: Johnny Rotten.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In every song!
  • Country Matters/Last-Second Word Swap: Rotten puts very deliberate and gleeful emphasis on the last syllable of "Pretty Vacant."
    • And on the first syllable of "country" in "Anarchy in the UK".
  • Crapsack World: The Sex Pistols don't like the world as it is, but at the same they don't care either.
  • Evil Laugh: Rotten's demonic laughter at the start of "Anarchy In The UK"
  • Fartillery: The infamous fart that closes "EMI"
  • The Future Will Be Better: Subverted in "God Save The Queen".
    There is no future, no future for you
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The word "bollocks" in the title only got green lighting when the record producers could prove that it is an authentic British word that has been in the dictionary for over centuries and, in the context of the album, referred to "nonsense".
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Guess which number?
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: "Bodies", a song about abortions for the sake of shock value.
  • Greatest Hits Album: In a sense it is.
  • Gross Out Show: Many songs on this albums could apply, but the closest is probably "Bodies" with a very graphic description of an abortion:
    Fucking bloody mess" (...) throbbing squirm, gurgling bloody mess.
  • Homage: The title of the British panel TV quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
  • Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: "Submission" was intended as a bondage song on request of Malcolm McLaren, but the group took it literally and wrote a song about a submarine- on purpose.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Virtually every song depicts humans as hardly the best beings around.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    • "Pretty Vacant": "We're pretty vacant", with a lot of emphasis on the final syllable.
    • "Submission" was born when manager Malcolm McLaren advised the group to write a song about submission in a sado-masochistic context. Just to annoy them the group took the title literally and wrote a song about a submarine mission.
  • Lack of Empathy:
    • "Pretty Vacant"
    AND WE DON'T CARE!!
    • "Seventeen"
    I'm so laaaaaaaazy, I can't even be bothered
    • The entire lyrics of "No Feelings".
  • Lazy Bum: "Seventeen"
    I'm so laaaaaaazy, I can't even be bothered
  • Least Rhymable Word: The words "anarchist" and "Anti-Christ" in "Anarchy In The U.K."
  • Loony Fan: Paulie, the girl who inspired Johnny Rotten to write the song "Bodies".
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover is just the album title.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: "God Save The Queen" has "There is no future and England's dreaming!"
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: In "Seventeen" Rotten sings "we don't care about long hair!"
  • Non-Appearing Title: The album title.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Rotten's local accent isn't hidden.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: "Submission" was supposed to be this, but to piss off Malcolm McLaren the band took a literal interpretation and sang about a submarine mission.
  • One-Book Author: This was the group's only album, brought out when the band was already falling apart. It is an iconic example of Short-Lived Big Impact, though!
  • Precision F-Strike: Every song!
  • Pretender Diss:
    • "New York" explains why groups like The New York Dolls are poseurs, according to Rotten.
    • The line "she's not what she seems" about the Queen in "God Save The Queen".
  • Protest Song: Each one, though in "Pretty Vacant" they also state: "We don't care!"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • "God Save The Queen" was written when Queen Elizabeth II of England celebrated her 25th Jubilee. Though the band wasn't aware that this celebration was on its way.
    • "Bodies" was inspired by an encounter between Rotten and a Loony Fan who had spent time in an institution and had had several abortions.
    • The anti-New York sentiment of "New York" was largely aimed at band manager Malcolm McLaren, who had previously managed The New York Dolls and held them and other New York bands up as the punk ideal.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: It's a The Reason You Suck Album, as they rip everyone they can think of, including themselves.
  • Record Producer: Chris Thomas and Bill Price. The initial album has the credit "Produced by Chris Thomas or Bill Price" because Malcolm McLaren had tried to pull some shenanigans by having them both work on songs at various times to try and get away with not paying them for their work at all, but they caught on.
  • Red Scare: Subverted by the line "I was waiting for the communist call" in "Holidays In The Sun."
  • Sarcastic Title: "God Save The Queen" doesn't praise Her Majesty at all. It criticizes people for worshipping the Royal Family, while at the same time society is in ruins.
  • Self-Titled Album: The band is mentioned in the title.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The line "everybody knows Japan is a dishpan" in "New York" is a reference to Captain Beefheart's song "Japan In A Dishpan" from Lick My Decals Off Baby.
    • The chorus to "Pretty Vacant" was inspired by the chorus of "S.O.S." by ABBA.
  • Spiritual Successor: Nirvana's Nevermind album. The name was a Shout-Out to them and managed to have the same enormous and influential impact on the musical scene.
  • Take That: Everyone!
    • "God Save The Queen" attacks the Royal Family and British society in general
    • "Anarchy In The UK"' criticizes the United Kingdom.
    • "New York" tackles the New York Dolls, which was answered with equal hatred by Johnny Thunders in his song "London Boys."
    • "EMI" is a scathing attack at their former record company.
    • "Seventeen" and "New York" fire at hippies.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Almost the definition of this trope.
  • Time Marches On: As of November 9, 1989, there is no longer a Berlin Wall to go over.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Holidays In The Sun" is an odd example. On one hand the lyrics follow a clear story if you will, but it's never clear- not even to Rotten himself- what he is actually doing there next to the Berlin Wall?
    Gotta go over the Berlin Wall
    I don't understand it...
    I gotta go over the wall
    I don't understand this bit at all
    (...) It's no real reason to be waiting
    The Berlin Wall
  • World War III: Mentioned in "Holidays In The Sun".
    I didn't ask for sunshine and I got World War III