“May the road rise to you”
It’s unlikely enough that any musician will end up in a band with any lasting impact. But following up a great band with anything other than an utter disappointment is almost impossible. John Lydon wasted no time moving on after the implosion of The Sex Pistols, founding Public Image Ltd and releasing the band’s first album only a year after Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols. The group has seen surprising success, both in the quality of its work and the length of time it has endured. Tracks like Rise ensure it’s legacy as a band that had something important to add to the conversation. The song mixes standard 80s alternative guitar and drum work with John Lydon’s still urgent and edgy vocals. Addressing torture, The Troubles and Apartheid, it has a discernible folk influence, both in its sound and its message. Positively channeling some of the fervor that he brought to The Sex Pistols, Lydon advises that “anger is an energy” while hoping that the journey ahead eases for those fighting injustice. It’s the type of overtly political but decidedly pop-y track that could never work today, but seemed positively revolutionary at the time. We’re far too jaded now for such an earnest, hopeful work. In fact, I’d even venture to say we don’t deserve it. Quite a turnaround from a man who was one of the original champions of anarchic misery.