Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollox

Right, let’s get the main issues out of the way, shall we? Contrary to popular opinion, this is not an important album. It was more an important proof of concept. The punk scene was already well underway at the time this album was released. It wasn’t the first punk album, neither did it have the first punk single – both of those accolades belong to The Damned.

No, the only way this album was important was as proof that punk could indeed shift units. Which, if you ask me, fairly obviously defeats the entire object of the punk genre.
Regardless, let’s get down to the reviewing, shall we?

So, I’m fairly certain you already know whether or not you like this album. Instead, you’re just going to listen to my spin on things.
Quite frankly, this is one of the most overrated albums in the lifespan of what we call rock. It’s not very good, is it? Let’s face it, the song writing is lacking, apart from the fantastic Bodies (and trust me, I never thought I’d ever be saying that about a Pistols track). The musicianship is, for lack of a better word, left wanting, with shoddy vocals, lackluster drumming and bland yet functional basswork – Excluding Anarchy in the UK, which original bassist Matlock played on. The guitar work is the only real saving grace on this album, featuring some fantastic rhythm and lead work from Steve Jones.

Lyrically, the album is fairly terrible as well. Whilst I like the subject matters touched upon within the songs themselves, the lyrics generally do not do them justice. People, anybody who tries to rhyme “antichrist” with “anarchist” is not worthy of your praise. Just a note. I don’t care if it rhymes, really. But don’t try and make it rhyme when it quite clearly doesn’t.

Regarding the lack of musical talent in the band, please, spare me the typical “That was the point” perspective. The Sex Pistols proved that anyone can do it. They also showed why anyone shouldn’t. They were mediocre at best. They even kicked out the genuinely musically talented member of the band to replace him with what was effectively a coathanger that recorded one song on the album.
Sex Pistols only defining feature was the raw production on the album. This is something I can get behind. The harsh guitar tones with the driving bass sounds actually work together really well, especially with the rawness of the vocals over the top. This doesn’t mean they were good vocals, just that the production worked with what it had.

Overall, I have to be grateful for the Sex Pistols, as they allowed real, talented bands to get the mainstream exposure they deserved. If you want a defining punk album, go buy yourself The Clash and let’s have done with it – a superior musical example in every way, shape and form. As an album, NMTB is an overrated relic from an age that had so much more to offer us.

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