On July 6th, 1984, Public Image Ltd aka PiL released their fourth studio album, This Is What You Want… This is What You Get.
The album controversially started as Commerical Zone, an abandoned version that controversially saw its release. This happened after PiL had relocated to New York to record the LP, and the band had broken up. It was then that guitarist Keith Levene took the tapes to Richard Branson to try to release the sessions with his own mix, but ended up releasing the album out himself on the American market and on January 30th, January 1984 as a limited one-off run of 10,000 copies.
The remaining members of PiL, John Lydon, and Martin Atkins re-recorded songs from the Commerical Zone’s sessions, along with 3 new ones.
The five songs on This Is What You Want…This Is What You Get that are re-recordings of tracks from Commercial Zone are: “Bad Life” (originally titled “Mad Max”), “This Is Not a Love Song” (originally titled “Love Song”), “Solitaire” (entitled “Young Brits” on the second pressing of Commercial Zone), “The Order of Death” (originally titled “The Slab”), and “Where Are You?” (originally titled “Lou Reed Part 2”).
Four songs from Commercial Zone, “Bad Night”, “Lou Reed Part 1”, “Blue Water” and “Miller Hi-Life”, were not re-recorded for This Is What You Want…This Is What You Get (although a remixed version of “Blue Water” was included as the B-side on the “This Is Not a Love Song” 12″ single).
The three songs on This Is What You Want…This Is What You Get which did not appear in any form on Commercial Zone are “Tie Me to the Length of That”, “The Pardon” and “1981”, and are the only songs on the album which do not credit Keith Levene as a co-writer.
The album’s lead single “This Is Not A Love Song”, PIL’s highest-charting single, reaching # 5 on the UK charts and remaining there for 10 weeks, was ironically written as a caustic response to Virgin Record’s request for a hit, possibly a “love song”.
“This Is Not A Love Song’ was a sort of response to that constant request from the record company for those HITS. Someone said ‘Why don’t you write a love song?’ Ha, I said, love song – ehh, well, this is not a love song!”
The lyrics are a biting literal stating that love songs are naive, and that “Fairytale’s a waste of time, It’s all lies.”
This parodied in the song’s video filmed in Century City, where Lydon has dressed a Record industry “fat cat” driving around in a classic car in a flashy business area in Los Angeles. literally driving the point home that “Love Songs” are lies sold to the masses so cynical men can get rich.
“At the time people were saying that I’d joined big business and become a bourgeois shit. says Lydon, “So I thought the best way of tackling this would be to pump out a song saying ‘That’s exactly what I am!’ Tongue firmly in cheek. And that kind of stopped that nonsense – so it worked.”
The album’s only other single was “Bad Life”, a track which reached number 72 on the UK singles chart.