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

The Sex Pistols' first and only album, released in 1977. 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 U.K.", "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 sugarcoat anything. There is no attempt to appeal to the mainstream. 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.


"Never mind the tropes":

  • Accentuate the Negative
    • "Fuck this and fuck that!" in "Bodies" sums it up best.
  • Anarchy: "In the U.K.", but also on the entire album.
  • The Antichrist: Rotten claims to be an Antichrist in "Anarchy In The U.K."
  • Anti-Love Song: "You better understand I'm in love with myself, my beautiful self" in "No Feelings".
  • Anti-Role Model:
    • "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." in "No Feelings"
  • B-Movie: "Holidays in the Sun" mentions "This cheap B Movie show"
  • Being Watched: "I'm looking over the wall AND THEY'RE LOOKING AT ME!!!!!" in "Holidays In The Sun"
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: "I kick you in the brains when you get down to kneel/ And pray, pray to your god." in "No Feelings"
  • Berlin Wall: The Sex Pistols visited it, thus inspiring "Holidays In The Sun", where the group finds itself in the presence of the Berlin Wall, unsure why they are there in the first place.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor/The Man Is Sticking It to the Man "EMI", a jab against their former record company.
  • Black Comedy
  • Born Unlucky: "There's no future, no future, no future for you" in "God Save The Queen".
  • British English:
    • "I'm a lazy sod" in "Seventeen"
  • British Royal Family: Main target in "God Save The Queen".
  • Brutal Honesty
  • Burning with Anger: Johnny Rotten.
  • Cluster F-Bomb
  • Country Matters/Last-Second Word Swap: Rotten puts very deliberate and gleeful emphasis on the last syllable of "Pretty Vacant."
  • Crapsack World
  • Evil Laugh: Rotten's demonic laughter at the start of "Anarchy In The U.K."
  • Fartillery: The infamous fart that closes "EMI"
  • The Future Will Be Better: Subverted.
  • 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"
  • Humans Are Bastards: "Liar," "Problems," etc.
  • 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:
    • "AND WE DON'T CARE!!" in "Pretty Vacant"
    • "I'm so lzy, I can't even be bothered" in "Seventeen".
    • The entire lyrics of "No Feelings".
  • Lazy Bum: "I'm so lzy, I can't even be bothered" in "Seventeen".
  • 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": "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 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".
  • Self-Titled Album
  • 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".
    • The chorus to "Pretty Vacant" was inspired by the chorus of "S.O.S." by Abba.
  • Spiritual Successor: Nirvana's Nevermind album.
  • Take That: Everybody!
    • "God Save The Queen" attacks the Royal Family and British society in general
    • "Anarchy In The U.K."' 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
  • Unintentional Period Piece: As of November 9, 1989, there is no longer a Berlin Wall to go over.
  • World War III: Mentioned in "Holidays in the Sun".
  • Writer Revolt: Over the song "Submission".

RamonesTime All Time 100 AlbumsBack In Black
Sex PistolsThe SeventiesSimon & Garfunkel
The Wake of MagellanAlbums IndexGraceland

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