PiL's Flowers of Romance: C/D

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No Jah Wobble, part of that whole "tribal" minitrend, somehow even freakier than Metal Box. Long silences and skeletal riddim in "Four Enclosed Walls" are like whoa.

Searched for a thread, couldn't find one.

So: Classic or Overreaching?

Hoosteen (Hoosteen), Thursday, 12 October 2006 21:02 (thirteen years ago) link

classic!!!

M@tt He1geson: Real Name, No Gimmicks (Matt Helgeson), Thursday, 12 October 2006 21:10 (thirteen years ago) link

It sounds GREAT on first listen, until you realize that there ain't much of anything going on. So, regrettably, dud, except for the title track and "Under the House."

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 12 October 2006 21:12 (thirteen years ago) link

100 Reasons why FLOWERS OF ROMANCE is fucking awesome

milton parker (Jon L), Thursday, 12 October 2006 21:22 (thirteen years ago) link

wowzers, dude. "flowers of romance" in quotation marks, i guess?

Hoosteen (Hoosteen), Thursday, 12 October 2006 21:33 (thirteen years ago) link

excellent record

Thomas Tallis (Tommy), Thursday, 12 October 2006 21:56 (thirteen years ago) link

Flower... would have sound better with Jah Wobble... and a more focus on intents... This is what you... would have sound better with Jah Wobble and Levene... and if called Commercial Zone...
alas Flower is really an half very good, and half a disappointment (expecially because coming after the first 2 absolute masterpieces!!!) like Can Flowmotion, which i'm listening just now!!

minerva estassi (minerva estassi), Thursday, 12 October 2006 22:18 (thirteen years ago) link

I like it better than metal box, hope the other thread gets to 100 reasons someday

milton parker (Jon L), Thursday, 12 October 2006 22:36 (thirteen years ago) link

def the coolest album of all. love it.

dar1a g (daria g), Thursday, 12 October 2006 23:12 (thirteen years ago) link

maybe this also explains why I think liars are totally great

dar1a g (daria g), Thursday, 12 October 2006 23:13 (thirteen years ago) link

For what it's worth, I think this was a major source of Tweedy inspiration when they were working on "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."

(Suddenly dozens of "Flowers of Romance" fans sell the album back.)

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Thursday, 12 October 2006 23:58 (thirteen years ago) link

I saw DJ Shadow do his "pass me a record and I'll mix it" routine at Other Music a few years ago. Somebody passed him Flowers of Romance, and he didn't get anywhere. After a couple minutes of fussing with the crossfader, he handed it back, flustered, and said something like "I'm not into that."

So our votes cancel each other out.

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Friday, 13 October 2006 00:12 (thirteen years ago) link

"Phenagen" is beautiful. This is really one of the creepier albums I can think of. Classic.

Kevin Mulllligan (Reebock Mcentire), Friday, 13 October 2006 00:38 (thirteen years ago) link

Haha, that DJ Shadow bit is brilliant. Good to know it's still confounding people to this day.

Anyhoo, classic. Been listening to it for 20 years, never gets old. Mood music, if you're in a really bad mood.

Lotsa discussion here as well:
Metal Box -- does anyone hate this as much as me?

Edward III (edward iii), Friday, 13 October 2006 00:43 (thirteen years ago) link

"Banging the Door" is one of the all time great I-did-too-much-coke-and-now-the-walls-have-eyes songs. Is there a more paranoid song?

reptilians
i won't let you in
if he knew we were here i'm sure he'd let us in
no i won't let you in

Did I mention my The Flowers of Romance-as-breakup-album theory?

Edward III (edward iii), Friday, 13 October 2006 00:48 (thirteen years ago) link

I'm still sort of in awe of the robotic certainty in the drop outs/drop ins of "Four Enclosed Walls"

Hoosteen (Hoosteen), Friday, 13 October 2006 01:34 (thirteen years ago) link

have to say I rarely listen to the album but the title track is one of my favourite pil moments.

simon 803 (simon 803), Friday, 13 October 2006 12:54 (thirteen years ago) link

I relistened to this album last night and all the dismissers are just hissers and pissers.

0xDOX0RNUTX0RX0RSDABITFIELDXOR^0xDEADBEEFDEADBEEF00001 (donut), Friday, 13 October 2006 12:56 (thirteen years ago) link

</malkmus>

0xDOX0RNUTX0RX0RSDABITFIELDXOR^0xDEADBEEFDEADBEEF00001 (donut), Friday, 13 October 2006 12:57 (thirteen years ago) link

Most anti-listener album ever released on a major label? Metal Machine Music probably gives it a run for its money.

Edward III (edward iii), Friday, 13 October 2006 13:30 (thirteen years ago) link

It made The Top of The Pops:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=S8cVLN1dTLQ

Dr. Alicia D. Titsovich (sexyDancer), Friday, 13 October 2006 13:33 (thirteen years ago) link

Extarordinary impact the first time you hear it but not something you're likely to find yourself wanting to go back to on a regular basis.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Friday, 13 October 2006 13:35 (thirteen years ago) link

classic.

hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 13 October 2006 13:38 (thirteen years ago) link

levene looks pretty out of it in that video. awesome.

hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 13 October 2006 13:41 (thirteen years ago) link

is he even on that record?

Dr. Alicia D. Titsovich (sexyDancer), Friday, 13 October 2006 13:44 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah, i thought it was the next record that he got wiped from. that's definitely him in the video, not martyn atkins.

hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 13 October 2006 13:56 (thirteen years ago) link

Levene is on it, Wobble isn't.

Here's a good interview with the engineer. Everything you ever wanted to know about recording The Flowers of Romance:
http://www.fodderstompf.com/INTERVIEWS/nick.html

Stewart, Stewart. The more you listen the better it gets.

Edward III (edward iii), Friday, 13 October 2006 14:01 (thirteen years ago) link

sweet! thanks.

Dr. Alicia D. Titsovich (sexyDancer), Friday, 13 October 2006 19:32 (thirteen years ago) link

That is indeed pretty slick, Eddo. Gracias.

Hoosteen (Hoosteen), Saturday, 14 October 2006 00:31 (thirteen years ago) link

maybe this also explains why I think liars are totally great
-- dar1a g (daria.il...), October 12th, 2006 5:13 PM. (daria g)

i've always thought the first record was Metal Box and the later were this one.

jaxon (jaxon), Saturday, 14 October 2006 01:09 (thirteen years ago) link

i love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXAuXr5_skg

am0n (am0n), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 03:37 (thirteen years ago) link

first 3 albums are classic

am0n (am0n), Tuesday, 17 October 2006 03:41 (thirteen years ago) link

two years pass...

got this on vinyl finally!

this record is an excellent soundtrack for being in The Shed (TM Hank Rollins in Get In the Van)

d20 riot tard (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 6 April 2009 17:25 (ten years ago) link

the first time I heard "four enclosed walls," at the age of 16 or so, it made me so physically uncomfortable I wanted to jump out of my skin

this pretty much makes Metal Box sound like Look What the Cat Dragged In

d20 riot tard (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 6 April 2009 17:29 (ten years ago) link

Oh my god, people are reviving PIL threads. I feel so lucky. Must find this on my iPod, now.

To Float Away On A Lifelong Song (Bimble), Monday, 6 April 2009 17:37 (ten years ago) link

once 2nd Edition got fully canonized as The One To Get (not wedded to this opinion but as far as I understand it, that's considered the canonical PiL album) I was really surprised because Flowers of Romance always seemed like such an incredibly brave and original sort of dysphoria - it's got that album-as-cinema feel, I love 2nd Ed don't get me wrong but Flowers is just its own thing

"Under the House" is/remains some kinda ultimate genius but the whole album is up there too. Maybe there really was nowhere else for him to go after it.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 6 April 2009 17:40 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, it's a great song and performance, as is the title track, but a lot of this sounds unformed to me. The songs map out a host of possible beginnings.

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 April 2009 17:44 (ten years ago) link

(and I see I've posted the same thought 15 times on this thread. Carry on).

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 April 2009 17:47 (ten years ago) link

I don't know, I think a lot of that has to do with the obvious lack of Wobble -- his bass is 'supposed' to be there, it isn't, therefore it seems unfinished. Taking it on its own terms isn't easy (maybe isn't entirely feasible?).

Ned Raggett, Monday, 6 April 2009 17:48 (ten years ago) link

I've always wanted to write at length about "This Is Not a Love Song," which to me represents the distillation of the half-formed ideas, bile, and uneasy accomodation with the recording studio begun on FOR.

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 April 2009 17:51 (ten years ago) link

yeah but it's too ambitious. Flowers of Romance is so...sort of willfully middling. Destructive toddler in a room with nothing to destroy, not part of any dialogue that's really going on. "This Is Not a Love Song" is great but is swinging for the fences. FOR is playing in the toybox, that's part of its appeal.

Happy with the PIL love, here. Thanks John D. and everyone else too.

To Float Away On A Lifelong Song (Bimble), Monday, 6 April 2009 18:06 (ten years ago) link

I've always wanted to write at length about "This Is Not a Love Song," which to me represents the distillation of the half-formed ideas, bile, and uneasy accomodation with the recording studio begun on FOR.

interesting to hear a funk/disco capitulation as the "distillation" of FOR's sonic entropy

FOR is answering a question nobody asked, TINALS is just asking "do you wanna dance?"

鬼の手 (Edward III), Monday, 6 April 2009 18:33 (ten years ago) link

and I do like this is what you want... this is what you get, but it's hard for me to hear it as anything other than a retreat from the lip of the abyss lydon et al were peering into on metal box/FOR

that's not a judgmental statement either, it's hard to live longterm on the lip of the abyss without tipping over into it

鬼の手 (Edward III), Monday, 6 April 2009 18:37 (ten years ago) link

maybe this also explains why I think liars are totally great
-- dar1a g (daria.il...), October 12th, 2006 5:13 PM. (daria g)

i've always thought the first record was Metal Box and the later were this one.

― jaxon (jaxon), Saturday, October 14, 2006 1:09 AM (2 years ago) Bookmark

when pretzel walrus interviewed liars right after the second album came out, i suggested he ask them about whether FoR was a touchstone for their recording, and i think they were like WHOA WE LOVE THAT RECORD

69, Monday, 6 April 2009 18:44 (ten years ago) link

it was a weird world PiL was creating/inhabiting... I think of them on american bandstand playing their bizarro metal box art rock in the middle of a crowd full of dancing people vs. lydon performing "this is not a love song" for the crowd on TOTP in a much more passive-spectator mode

there was some active examination of the provocation / reaction impulse during MB/FOR - "the method is the madness" - but that dissolved into more classic forms of the entertainer & the entertained on TIWYWTIWYG

and you can hear it in the music

clearly one is going to be more easily digestible than the other

鬼の手 (Edward III), Monday, 6 April 2009 18:51 (ten years ago) link

pretzel walrus interviewed liars? awesome.

FoR still the coolest album ever made IMHO, inc the photo on the cover. gorgeous

we are here to celebrate, worship and adore (daria-g), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:02 (ten years ago) link

FOR is no leap into the abyss – it's Kabuki theatre, with lots of yuks (except for the title track).

interesting to hear a funk/disco capitulation as the "distillation" of FOR's sonic entropy

FOR is answering a question nobody asked, TINALS is just asking "do you wanna dance?"

One man's funk/disco capitulation is another man's funk/disco distillation of J. Rotten Lydon's sincerity and bad faith before it curdled into cynicism. ("I'm crossing over into enterprise" is one of my favorite Lydon bon mots).

The Screaming Lobster of Challops (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:13 (ten years ago) link

kabuki has plenty of abyss I would say

It's hard to notice through the leering, though.

I'm crossing over into enterprise (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:30 (ten years ago) link

back dat abyss up

鬼の手 (Edward III), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:43 (ten years ago) link

yeah Flowers sounds like it's all up in the abyss's guts IMO

I don't think it's as good as Metal Box...but I think it's close and perhaps even braver.

God, Lydon is so unhinged on this with the weird UK yowl half gone arabic...crazy ass vocal performance....

d20 riot tard (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:49 (ten years ago) link

I know, I know, but can we see it on You Tube?

To Float Away On A Lifelong Song (Bimble), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:54 (ten years ago) link

what, the abyss?

鬼の手 (Edward III), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:58 (ten years ago) link

now that you mention it, watching youtube *is* kind of like staring into the abyss

鬼の手 (Edward III), Monday, 6 April 2009 19:59 (ten years ago) link

when you stare into the youtube, the youtube also stares into you

鬼の手 (Edward III), Monday, 6 April 2009 20:01 (ten years ago) link

youtube comments make the abyss seems like caddyshack

d20 riot tard (M@tt He1ges0n), Monday, 6 April 2009 20:10 (ten years ago) link

There really should be a DVD of all of JR's TOTP Appearances.

Mark G, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:01 (ten years ago) link

Definitely my favorite PiL album, by a wide margin. I love Wobble elsewhere (like with Czukay) but don't find I miss him with Ltd.

Soundslike, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:31 (ten years ago) link

Starts off Classic, but palls after a while, Lydon's melodic limitations are rather exposed

Sacco, Vanzetti, Passantino... (Tom D.), Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:35 (ten years ago) link

tevs geir jr!

d20 riot tard (M@tt He1ges0n), Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:38 (ten years ago) link

LOL, but it is amelodic and rhythm dominate, to coin a phrase

Sacco, Vanzetti, Passantino... (Tom D.), Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:41 (ten years ago) link

pulled this out for the first time in a long while cos of this thread, it wails!

goole, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:44 (ten years ago) link

all the songs seems like they're a year long even tho they're all ~3 mins, but then the endings all seem very abrupt

goole, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 14:46 (ten years ago) link

Levine's electronics on this record are superb.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 15:03 (ten years ago) link

I don't know, I think a lot of that has to do with the obvious lack of Wobble -- his bass is 'supposed' to be there, it isn't, therefore it seems unfinished. Taking it on its own terms isn't easy (maybe isn't entirely feasible?).

was thinking about this thread of missing wobble - I love wobble's playing on metal box but I'm not sure if his bass is 'supposed' to be there on the flowers of romance?

always thought both "albatross" and "four enclosed walls" were perfect lead off tracks on their respective albums, laying down the rules of engagement. "four enclosed walls" is just drums + vocals + odd noises, and it's a complete song - when I listen to it and I don't think there's anything missing, in fact it's quite perfect.

鬼の手 (Edward III), Tuesday, 7 April 2009 17:04 (ten years ago) link

seven years pass...

I only pull this out every once in a while, but every time I do, it really hits the spot.

Austin, Sunday, 10 April 2016 23:03 (three years ago) link

35 years old today

adam, Sunday, 10 April 2016 23:05 (three years ago) link

So fucking good

lute bro (brimstead), Sunday, 10 April 2016 23:06 (three years ago) link

35 years old today

Wow, really?! I had no idea when I revived. . .

Austin, Sunday, 10 April 2016 23:42 (three years ago) link

this is embarrassing, but i scored a cheap copy of flowers of romance yesterday, then got home and realized i bought the 12" single. no wonder it was $8. :(

Karl Malone, Sunday, 10 April 2016 23:45 (three years ago) link

I saw DJ Shadow do his "pass me a record and I'll mix it" routine at Other Music a few years ago. Somebody passed him Flowers of Romance, and he didn't get anywhere. After a couple minutes of fussing with the crossfader, he handed it back, flustered, and said something like "I'm not into that."

surprised he couldn't do anything with Atkins' drums on "Four Enclosed Walls"...I mean, that bass drum

Master of Treacle, Sunday, 10 April 2016 23:46 (three years ago) link

/I saw DJ Shadow do his "pass me a record and I'll mix it" routine at Other Music a few years ago. Somebody passed him Flowers of Romance, and he didn't get anywhere. After a couple minutes of fussing with the crossfader, he handed it back, flustered, and said something like "I'm not into that."/

surprised he couldn't do anything with Atkins' drums on "Four Enclosed Walls"...I mean, that bass drum

I was thinking the same!!

lute bro (brimstead), Sunday, 10 April 2016 23:53 (three years ago) link

My mate was looking for a nice phono amp for his system and brought a bunch of records to the store to test out, of which one was this. It was a sweet setup, probably a $20-30k demo system in one of those acoustically treated rooms, no angles, just a couch, etc.

This record sounded ungodly.

As if I had never heard it before, my reaction was "so THIS is what John was going for!"

Not that you need that kind of environment to appreciate it, but it helped reveal a different aspect.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 11 April 2016 01:49 (three years ago) link

It's not really a good album but I appreciate it as gesture. Context matters too: at last night's Pearl Jam show it played -- LOUDLY -- over the PA system.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 11 April 2016 02:20 (three years ago) link

it = title track

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 11 April 2016 02:20 (three years ago) link

I remember buying this on the first day and taking it home and playing it.

How to make an album that's minimal, but huge at the same time.

I was marginally disappointed that the "Pied Piper" lineup didn't do more stuff, but then PIL have a whole bunch of "didn't do a lot" about them, up to "Commercial Zone"

Mark G, Monday, 11 April 2016 08:59 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

It took close to 30 years, but this album finally clicked for me.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 30 November 2019 06:04 (two weeks ago) link


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