Pink Flag

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Pink Flag
Studio album by Wire
Released December 1977
Recorded September–October 1977 at Advision Studios
Genre Art punk, punk rock
Length 35:37
Label Harvest
Producer Mike Thorne
Wire chronology
Pink Flag
(1977)
Chairs Missing
(1978)
Sample of "Reuters" from Pink Flag

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Pink Flag is the debut studio album by English post-punk band Wire. It was released in December 1977, through Harvest Records. The album didn't chart in the UK.[1]

It has been widely acclaimed, and is considered influential by critics.

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
BBC Music (favourable)[3]
Robert Christgau A[4]
The Digital Fix 9/10[5]
Pitchfork 10/10[6]
Prefix 9/10[7]
Ultimate-Guitar.com 9.2/10[8]
Wireviews favourable[9]

Upon its release, Robert Christgau called it a "punk suite" and praised its "simultaneous rawness and detachment" and detected a rock-and-roll irony similar to but "much grimmer and more frightening" than the Ramones.[4] Trouser Press called it "a brilliant 21-song suite" in which the band "manipulated classic rock song structure by condensing them into brief, intense explosions of attitude and energy, coming up with a collection of unforgettable tunes".[10] In its retrospective review, Allmusic awarded the album five stars out of five, opining that it was "perhaps the most original debut album to come out of the first wave of British punk" and also "recognizable, yet simultaneously quite unlike anything that preceded it. Pink Flag's enduring influence pops up in hardcore, post-punk, alternative rock, and even Britpop, and it still remains a fresh, invigorating listen today: a fascinating, highly inventive rethinking of punk rock and its freedom to make up your own rules."[2]

Influence[edit]

Although the album was released to critical acclaim,[11][12][13][14] it was not a big seller. The album was listed at number 412 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003[15] and music journalist Stuart Maconie described it as "extraordinary" by the standards of the time at which it was produced.[16] Pitchfork ranked Pink Flag number 22 in its list "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s".[17]

Cover versions[edit]

The album's wide-ranging influence is exemplified by the number of bands which have covered its songs. R.E.M. reworked "Strange" on their 1987 album Document. Henry Rollins (as Henrietta Collins & The Wife-Beating Child Haters) covered "Ex Lion Tamer" on the 1987 album Drive by Shooting. Other notable covers include Minor Threat's version of "1 2 X U" on the Dischord Records compilation Flex Your Head (1982), Die Kreuzen's cover of the title track on a 7" single in 1990, and Firehose's version of "Mannequin", which appeared on its Live Totem Pole EP in 1992. Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine also did a cover of Mannequin which was included on their 1992 single Do Re Me so Far so Good. Elastica also used a riff similar to that of "Three Girl Rhumba" for their song "Connection". The New Bomb Turks covered "Mr. Suit" on their 1993 album Destroy Oh Boy! and noticeably slowed its tempo. The hardcore band Ampere also released a cover of "Mr. Suit", which can be heard on their split LP with Das Oath. "Reuters" was covered by Irish alternative metal group Therapy?, as a B-side to their Troublegum album, also by Scrawl. The Minutemen also drew influence from this album, borrowing from it the approach of recording and releasing briefer songs. The Lemonheads covered "Fragile" on their 2009 album Varshons. Californian hardcore punk band Ceremony covered "Pink Flag" on their 2011 "6 Cover Songs" EP. Moneybrother covered "Mannequin" on his 2006 album Pengabrorsan (the lyrics and title were translated into Swedish). Graham Coxon of Blur has also cited the album as an influence on his latest album A+E.[18]Fischerspooner covers "The 15th" on their 2003 album "#1"

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bruce Gilbert, Graham Lewis, Colin Newman, and Robert Gotobed, except as indicated. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Reuters"   3:03
2. "Field Day for the Sundays"   0:28
3. "Three Girl Rhumba"   1:23
4. "Ex Lion Tamer"   2:19
5. "Lowdown"   2:26
6. "Start to Move"   1:13
7. "Brazil"   0:41
8. "It's So Obvious"   0:53
9. "Surgeon's Girl"   1:17
10. "Pink Flag"   3:47
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
11. "The Commercial"     0:49
12. "Straight Line"     0:44
13. "106 Beats That"     1:12
14. "Mr. Suit"     1:25
15. "Strange"     3:58
16. "Fragile"     1:18
17. "Mannequin"     2:37
18. "Different to Me"   Annette Green 0:43
19. "Champs"     1:46
20. "Feeling Called Love"     1:22
21. "12 X U"     1:55

*The bonus tracks were removed from the 2006 remastered reissues, because, according to the band, they didn't honour the "conceptual clarity of the original statements".[19]

Personnel[edit]

Wire[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wire (Albums)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Steve Huey. "Pink Flag". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Sid Smith (20 November 2002). "Wire Pink Flag/Chairs Missing/154 Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Robert Christgau. "Wire". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Karl Wareham (24 December 2003). "Wire - Pink Flag". thedigitalfix. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  6. ^ Joe Tangari (5 May 2006). "Wire: Pink Flag". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Michael Pollock (5 March 2008). "Album Review: Wire - Pink Flag/Chairs Missing/154". Prefix. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  8. ^ scorpio2billion (14 August 2009). "Pink Flag review". Ultimate-Guitar.com. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Craig Grannell (1998). "Reviews – Wire: Pink Flag". Wireviews. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Wire". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Colin Larkin (1994). All Time Top 1000 Albums. Guinness World Records. p. 236. ISBN 0-851-12786-X; ISBN 978-08-5112-786-6. "Abrasive and disjointed, these 21 tracks exude a fury impossible to ignore and one enhanced by their very brevity" 
  12. ^ Michael Heatley, Paul Lester, Chris Roberts (1998). Paul Du Noyer, ed. The Encyclopedia of Albums. Dempsey Parr. ISBN 1-840-84031-5; ISBN 978-18-4084-031-5. "The artily unintelligible lyrics and dense production marked Wire out as a sort of New Wave Roxy Music (p. 170)." 
  13. ^ Robert Dimery, Michael Lydon (2010). Robert Dimery, ed. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Universe. ISBN 0-789-32074-6; ISBN 978-07-8932-074-2. "The most original album of punk's first wave. [...] The resulting sound was far colder and more brutal than anything else around at the time (p. 381)." 
  14. ^ NME (January 2006). 100 Greatest British Albums Ever!. Pink Flag was placed no. 83. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
  15. ^ "412 | Pink Flag". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Stuart Maconie (2004). Cider With Roadies. London: Ebury Publishing. p. 108. ISBN 0-091-89745-9; ISBN 978-00-9189-745-1. 
  17. ^ Pitchfork staff (23 June 2004). "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1970s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Q magazine, April 2012 issue.
  19. ^ Villeneuve, Phil (11 April 2006). "Wire Reissuing First Three LPs and Early Live Recordings". ChartAttack. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 

External links[edit]