What the World Needs Now by Public Image Ltd (PiL Official)
John Lydon is a trickster and a prankster, the Loki of modern music, a singer and personality that you’re never sure is sincere or taking the piss. His butter commercials and TV hosting jobs paid for This is PiL and What the World Needs Now so don’t even hassle the guy for “selling out”. Not that Lydon would care what you think anyway.
On PiL‘s 10th studio album Lydon seems quite happy to amuse and entertain, on crunchy and funny opener Double Trouble he rants about domestic problems like fixing toilets then goes into full-on sneer amongst Lu Edmonds’ steely guitar riffing and bouncy drums yelling “ya ya ya ya!” Know Now is just as much fun, riding on a jerking dance rhythm and chunky guitars, a reminder that PiL is the original Post Punk Band. Bettie Page equates the iconic model with culture in the States, Lydon taking on a mock American voice over a spy movie guitar twang. C’est La Vie stays with one dark tempo, Lydon’s hushed and melodic vocals conveying a lusty and lush mood with Scott Firth’s dubby bass leading the way. Spice of Life sounds remarkably like Love is the Drug for a minute with Firth’s slinking bass, breaking into a sunburst of Edmonds’ inventive and enthralling guitar. The One is a pleasant surprise as a peppy beat and “awooh”s enter the mix, summery and breezy and bright, showing that Lydon can do “upbeat”.
Big Blue Sky begins with an airy dub bass and Bruce Smith’s shuffling percussion, building to a big, bold chorus with harmonized backing vocals before returning to the mysterious dub. Corporate is an evolved take on the death disco PiL presented us all those years ago, the marching groove of the bass and drums surrounded by wheezing and chattering effects and clanging guitars as Lydon rails against Big Business chanting “murderuh!” “pity us” and “can we make the next century?” Lydon is still finding targets for his anger. The strange journey through What the World Needs Now comes to an end with Shoom. Lydon growls about “bollocks” and bellowing “What the world needs now is another fuck off!” over a pulsating synth and skittering drums.
Innovator, rule breaker, young punk and crotchety old man, John Lydon and PiL are making music and having fun on What the World Needs Now which makes for an amusing and adventurous listen.
Public Image Ltd will be touring through the end of the year and will be performing at The Fonda Theater on November 29, 2015.
(by Bret Miller)