2 LPs on 1 CD. Originally issued on vinyl as THE METAL BOX in England (or 2ND EDITION in the U.S.).
Public Image Ltd. includes: John Lydon, Jeanette Lee, Dave Crowe (vocals); Keith Levene (guitar, synthesizer); Jah Wobble (bass); Martin Atkins (drums).
METAL BOX, PIL's second album, arrived in stores in 1979, packaged in a metal can modeled after a film canister. The expensive album, slightly re-sequenced and refitted with a traditional sleeve, was re-released the following year as SECOND EDITION. The 11-minute "Albatross" opens the proceedings, centered upon powerful bass punctuated by spiky guitars.
"Poptones" brings Lydon's vocals to the forefront of the mix as he delivers an elliptical lyric about being driven into the woods and executed while the tune in question plays on the car radio. "Socialist" is a fast instrumental that introduces bubbling keyboards to the bass and drum mixture. Another instrumental, "Graveyard," comes perilously close to a parody of spy/thriller movie themes before being saved by searing guitar bursts. "Bad Baby"'s prominent keyboard line plays over the bass and drums while Lydon intones the tale of a baby abandoned in a parking lot. Far from a cheerful album, SECOND EDITION highlights some of Wobble's most expressive bass playing alongside Lydon's patently off-kilter vocal style and aggressively anti-social lyrics.
Rolling Stone - Ranked # 76 in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Albums Of The Eighties" survey. (November 1989)
Spin (5/01, p.109) - Ranked #17 in Spin's "50 Most Essential Punk Records" - "The JOHN LYDON LP: a punk star getting rid of stardom's albatross....best route from Can to KID A."
Q (7/01, p.91) - Included in Q's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time" - "...Beefheart/Krautrock-inspired snotty dub disco....Mohican-sporting, Kings Road punks didn't get it. Which probably pleased Lydon to no end."
Uncut (1/00, p.102) - "...METAL BOX sounds still more awesome today than on its release..."
Mojo (Publisher) (3/03, p.76) - Ranked #10 in Mojo's "Top 50 Punk Albums" - "...Experiments, which, in defying punk orthodoxy, was all the more punk rock. Inspirational..."