Entertainment!

Entertainment!
Studio album by Gang of Four
Released September 1979
Recorded 1979 at The Workhouse, Old Kent Road, London
Genre Post-punk
Length 39:53
Label EMI, Warner Bros.
Producer Andy Gill, Jon King and Rob Warr
Gang of Four chronology
Entertainment!
(1979)
Solid Gold
(1981)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (9.5/10)[2]
Robert Christgau (A)[3]
Rolling Stone (positive)[4]
Spin 10/10 stars[5]

Entertainment! is the debut album by English post-punk band Gang of Four, released in September 1979. This album was released on EMI in the UK and on Warner Bros. in the U.S..

The music on the first album shows clearly the influence of punk, yet also incorporates funk and less-obvious influences of reggae and dub, similar to other bands at the time such as Public Image Ltd., Pere Ubu, and The Pop Group. As with these other influential post-punk bands, the bass is mixed much more prominently than it typically is in rock or punk.

The album has attracted praise from rock musicians. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers stated that the first time he heard the record, "It completely changed the way I looked at rock music and sent me on my trip as a bass player."[6] In 2003, the album was ranked number 490 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In March 2005, Q magazine placed the track "At Home He's a Tourist" at number 52 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

In 2005, the band performed the album live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series.

As of 2009, Entertainment! has sold over 100,000 copies in the UK.[7]

Contents

Artwork

The album's artwork was designed by band members Jon King and Andy Gill,[8] typical of their DIY approach. The cover depicts an "Indian" shaking hands with a "cowboy" in three heavily processed versions of the same image, the faces are reduced to blobs of red and white—that is, to the stereotypical racial colours. A text that winds around the images reads, "The Indian smiles, he thinks that the cowboy is his friend. The cowboy smiles, he is glad the Indian is fooled. Now he can exploit him." In this way, it approaches themes of exploitation, but taken with the lyrical content of the album, it may also point to simplistic depictions of ethnic, social or political conflict in the media as "cowboys and Indians".

The album's back cover depicts a family whose father says, "I spend most of our money on myself so that I can stay fat", while the mother and children declare, "We're grateful for his leftovers". On the album's inner sleeve, small photographs depicting scenes shown on television are interlaced with text illustrating what the band suggests are the misleading subtexts of media presentation: "The facts are presented neutrally so that the public can make up its own mind"; "Men act heroically to defend their country"; "People are given what they want".

Lyrics

The diverse thematic elements on Entertainment! range from the Marxist concept of alienated labour ("Natural's Not in It"), Great Man theory ("Not Great Men"), the commodification of leisure ("Return The Gift"), the condition of the everyman ("At Home He's a Tourist"), Special Category Status prisoners in Northern Ireland ("Ether"), guerrilla warfare in Central America ("5.45"). A number of songs also challenge traditional concepts of love and love songs ("Anthrax", "Contract") and sex ("Damaged Goods", "I Found That Essence Rare").

Song information

"At Home He's a Tourist" reached number 58 in the UK Singles Chart, the highest position of any Gang of Four song. The band were originally asked to perform the song on Top of the Pops. However, when the show's producers heard the line "And the rubbers you hide in your top left pocket" they asked the group to change the word rubbers to rubbish for fear of causing offence; the four band members refused and the appearance was cancelled.[9][10]

In fall 2010, Microsoft used portions of the song "Natural's Not in It" in sports-focused advertisements for the Kinect, its motion-based control system for the XBox 360 video game system.

"Natural's Not in It" was used during the opening credits of Marie Antoinette.

Track listing

All songs written by Dave Allen, Hugo Burnham, Andy Gill, and Jon King.

Side one

  1. "Ether" – 3:52
  2. "Natural's Not in It" – 3:09
  3. "Not Great Men" – 3:08
  4. "Damaged Goods" – 3:29
  5. "Return the Gift" – 3:08
  6. "Guns Before Butter" – 3:49

Side two

  1. "I Found That Essence Rare" – 3:09
  2. "Glass" – 2:32
  3. "Contract" – 2:42
  4. "At Home He's a Tourist" – 3:33
  5. "5.45" – 3:48
  6. "Anthrax" – 4:23

1995 bonus tracks

EMI Records CD issue (mastered by Andy Gill & John King) includes the following singles:

  1. "Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time" – 3:27
  2. "He'd Send in the Army" – 3:40
  3. "It's Her Factory" – 3:08

Infinite Zero Archive/American Recordings CD issue includes the Yellow EP:

  1. "Armalite Rifle" – 2:48

2005 bonus tracks

In addition to the Yellow EP, the Rhino release adds four previously unissued tracks:

  1. "Guns Before Butter (alternate version)" – 4:25
  2. "Contract (alternate version)" – 2:48
  3. "Blood Free" (live at The Electric Ballroom, London) – 3:17
  4. "Sweet Jane" (live at the American Indian Center) (Lou Reed) – 3:20

Personnel

Charts

Album
Chart (1979) Peak
UK Albums Chart 45[11]
Singles
Year Single Chart Peak
1979 "At Home He's a Tourist"/"It's Her Factory" UK Singles Chart 58[12]
1980 "Damaged Goods"/"I Found That Essence Rare" U.S. Billboard Club Play singles 39

References

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  3. ^ Robert Christgau review
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ Weisbard & Marks, 1995. p.163
  6. ^ Liner notes to Infinite Zero Archive/American Recordings reissue, 1995
  7. ^ Andy Gill (18 September 2009). "Andy Gill meets Andy Gill". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/andy-gill-meets-andy-gill-1789194.html. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  8. ^ Liner notes
  9. ^ Mark Pothier (3 March 2004). "His Gang days are behind him". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2004/03/03/his_gang_days_are_behind_him/. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  10. ^ Dave Simpson (7 January 2005). "Jerky, punky, funky". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2005/jan/07/1. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  11. ^ "Gang Of Four - At Home He's A Tourist". Chart Stats. http://www.chartstats.com/albuminfo.php?id=8620. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "Gang Of Four - Entertainment". Chart Stats. http://www.chartstats.com/albuminfo.php?id=4763. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 

Notes

  • Weisbard, Eric; Craig Marks (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 

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