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View Poll Results: Never Mind the Bollocks vs. Spunk
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols 6 100.00%
Spunk 0 0%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-27-2018, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sex Pistols - Spunk vs. Never Mind the Bollocks

For those who don't know, Spunk is a bootleg album by the Sex Pistols suspected by many to have been masterminded by Malcolm McLaren for... reasons. It was recorded roughly the same time as Never Mind the Bollocks, released one month earlier, and has many of the same songs, making it sort of a de facto co-debut album.

So how does it stack up to the official debut, brosephs?

I can never decide tbh. NMtB either gave more time for Johnny Rotten to get his parts right or they were recorded later after he'd developed his persona further because he's noticeably sharper and more commanding than on Spunk, which is a big win since Rotten is such a large part of the band's appeal.

But Spunk wins mostly on the music and production. I know when recording Bollocks that the producer wouldn't let the band members play at full volume and to make up the difference they layered the instrumental parts to give them more oomph, leaving them feeling stiff and kind of weird, whereas Spunk sounds like how the Sex Pistols probably should have sounded on wax.

And musically Spunk also wins due to the presence of original bassist Glen Matlock. There's a noticeable swing and energy to the songs on the bootleg which is reduced on Bollocks which was recorded with guitarist Steve Jones. Surprisingly enough it seems that taking out a band's main songwriter has a negative effect on that band's sound.

The last consideration is the track listing. Aside from track order the albums are very similar, but with Spunk you're missing out on "Holiday in the Sun" and "Bodies", the first of which is a fine Pistols tune but not quite top shelf, but "Bodies" is fantastic and a real loss if you go with the bootleg. But Bollocks is missing "Satellite" and "Just Me", both of which are pretty fantastic, so I guess that's a slight win for Spunk (especially if you're listening to the 11-track version of the debut that's missing "Submission").

And so I'm left stumped again. Do I love Johnny Rotten's insanity more than I love the rest of the band? I mean I definitely do tbh, and I have way more nostalgia for Never Mind the Bollocks, so I guess I'll skip the coin flip and just go with that. It's a close call though.


Spunk - Spotify




Never Mind the Bollocks - Spotify

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Last edited by The Batlord; 05-27-2018 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 05-27-2018, 01:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You make some good points. The thing is, I grew up with only one of those records in my collection. Never Mind the Bollocks is the record that’s imprinted on my mind. It’s almost like asking who do you like better yourself or the parallel universe version of you. The production, the layering, the energy all went unchallenged forever so that’s it. I like to consider myself open minded but it’s impossible for me to see this objectively. Another analogy: the dog I raised or the one that escaped a few weeks in.
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Old 05-27-2018, 01:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OccultHawk View Post
You make some good points. The thing is, I grew up with only one of those records in my collection. Never Mind the Bollocks is the record that’s imprinted on my mind. It’s almost like asking who do you like better yourself or the parallel universe version of you. The production, the layering, the energy all went unchallenged forever so that’s it. I like to consider myself open minded but it’s impossible for me to see this objectively. Another analogy: the dog I raised or the one that escaped a few weeks in.
Pretty much the same. Never Mind the Bollocks was the first punk album I ever listened to, one of the first albums I ever burned to a CD back when I didn't have the money to buy albums or the bandwidth to download lots of albums, so it's a foundational album for me that I've listened to more times than I can count. Spunk's greatness for me is like what you said, it's a parallel universe version of Bollocks that feels fresher and more interesting simply because I haven't heard it as much. More brilliant albums need to have bootleg versions.
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Old 05-27-2018, 01:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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More brilliant albums need to have bootleg versions.
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As long as they really exist. Like some of Dylan’s best stuff is his bootleg late release series. On the other hand, some records, like Rumours, they should’ve just kept the outtakes in the closet. The bonus track infatuation is at its worst in the world of jazz. You have to be careful and cut the CD when the original is over or you’ll find yourself stuck in 30 minutes of repetitive outtakes. Sketches of Spain and Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud come to mind. Jazz completists can **** off.
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Old 05-27-2018, 05:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Satellite might give Spunk the edge K

but agree with Never Mind the Bollocks having a big impact, it hit me personally as hard as it's fabled to have hit UK rock in the 70's

instantly recognized it was everything I needed, virtually changed my tastes overnight
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Okay so my copy of Never Mind the Bollocks is a burned version that I downloaded song by song back in the days of Kazaa and at least "No Feelings" is clearly a different version than the only version I can find on the internet, both on Youtube and pirated versions, and I can't even find the version I grew up with and no it's not from Spunk.

Does anybody know what I'm talking about? It might not be the only song on my version that was different but I'm not sure. If I had anything but my Chromebook that can't take CDs I'd burn my version of "No Feelings" for reference but I'm boned atm.
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Old 06-04-2018, 03:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh and upon being finally too fed up with this discrepancy to live with myself I had to order the actual album cause I'll not be like that. But I also have a different "edition" from all of you so I'm officially better.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Remember being so exited going up to London to get the Spunk bootleg when it first appeared. Was a big open secret at the time. I see it as an alternative view, same as the Clash CBS demos.
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