Buzzcocks

Autonomy

Song Review by

Unlike the bubblegum punk that the Buzzcocks had already perfected by the time they released the Ramones-like single "I Don't Mind" in April of 1978, guitarist and occasional songwriting contributor Steve Diggle appears interested in pushing the band's tried and true formula in some new directions with his self-penned flip side, "Autonomy." The track departs from the band's straight, full-speed-ahead rock, opening with a pulsing bass drum beat with chugging bass and guitar grinding in unison to a steady groove while guitars cascade down a descending tumble of chords. These instrumental breaks are alternated with sparsely worded verses, Diggle leaving the vocal duties to Pete Shelley, the group's usual vocalist and the foremost songwriter. The arrangement contracts to more straight-up verses of simple melodies, then shifting to a shuffling, tom-accented beat from the brilliant John Maher for the chorus where an effected guitar overdub chimes a catchy riff to Shelley's staggered chorus line -- "I...I want you/Autonomy" -- drawing out the title's four-syllable words for maximum melodic effect. The subject matter remains vague, the vocals existing merely to hang a melody on, allowing the band to showcase their musicianship and cohesive power as a unit. This is most apparent in a relatively long instrumental vamp-out, something the band would explore further on their upcoming full-length albums. The track certainly introduces Diggle as a songwriting presence in the group as he would go on to receive co-songwriting credit on the Buzzcocks' very next single, "Promises."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Another Music in a Different Kitchen 1978 Domino 3:49
Singles Going Steady 1979 I.R.S. Records / Capitol 3:43
Product 1989 EMI 3:43
Operators Manual 1991 I.R.S. Records 3:39
No Image 1992 I.R.S. Records 0:00
Love Bites/Another Music in a Different Kitchen 1994 I.R.S. Records
5 Album Set 1994 Parlophone / Warner Music 3:59
Chronology 1997 Capitol 3:46
Noise Annoys 2002 Tbc / Import 4:44
Inventory 2003 Capitol / EMI Records / EMI 3:45
The Complete Singles Anthology 2004 EMI Music Distribution 3:43
A Different Compilation 2011 Cooking Vinyl 3:39