Public Image: First Issue album cover
Public Image: First Issue

Public Image Ltd


The energy here is unbridled, and the lack of control has aged pretty well. Jim Walker’s drumming only shows up on this one album, and it’s well powerful. Less known than the follow-up, Metal Box/Second Edition, this is where the ideas all run into each other. Jah Wobble puts his bass further into the mix than any other rock, and Keith Levene used all the same distortion and chorus as anyone hired to play in Banshees, with much less intention or stability. “Public Image” was more or less the template for U2, except with a singer who wanted to reject anyone who might love him.

Sasha Frere-Jones

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