Public Enemy - "Louder Than A Bomb" title influence
Posted on Sat, Dec 12 1998
by David T. <[email protected]>
From Shanti Hanna:

I wrote a message to Chuck D. of Public Enemy asking him whether the title of his group's album, "Louder Than A Bomb" was influenced by the Smiths' album "Louder Than Bombs". And this is what he said:

"yeah id spent quite a bit of time in the UK in 1987-88 and it had come across my attention..."

To check it out yourself, go to the Public Enemy message board and look under the message title, "Louder Than A Bomb title influence".

Comments / Notes

Just to clarify for you trainspotters:

"Louder Than A Bomb" is actually a track from Public Enemy's 1988 release, "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" which is, in my opinion, one of the best hip-hop albums ever. It's nice to see that Chuck is receptive to other types of music than his own...wish I could say the same for Morrissey.

Matt Laflin <[email protected]>
- Sun, Dec 13, 1998 at 01:41:01 (PST)

Morrissey used to hear a lot of the Tamla Motown records. The only "sin" that he did was criticize both Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston, and I really think that they´re not quite representative of the black music. I´ve got the "Muse sick´n hour...." Public Enemy album, and I think it´s really brilliant.
Jordi Trenzano i Vilar <[email protected]>
Barcelona - Sun, Dec 13, 1998 at 08:11:58 (PST)

On a possibly-interesting side-note, Moz could have got the title "Louder Than Bombs" from Elizabeth Smart's novella "By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept" (first published 1945). He seems to have read it, because it's crammed with lines and phrases he 'lifted' for his lyrics. The exact phrase "louder than bombs" is in the novella.
Elbowless <[email protected]>
- Sun, Dec 13, 1998 at 08:59:56 (PST)

I don't see how Chuck D's borrowing from the Smiths' title proves he's "receptive to other types of music than his own;" he didn't say anything about being a Smiths fan. Also, I don't think Morrissey's aversion to contemporary rap and dance music renders him narrow-minded; he certainly lists many other genres as influences.
- Sun, Dec 13, 1998 at 10:38:19 (PST)

To criticize genres as wide and diverse as rap and dance is patently ignorant--in Morrissey's defense, however, his stance on the genres was brave back in the 80's and would be on the verge of suicide today, as criticism for said genres is presently abysmally low and as our modern taste for music becomes more and more fickle, commercial and appealing to the basest sense; none of which could ever be used to describe Moz and could *certainly* be used to describe Public Enemy's music. I wish Morrissey was just as outspoken today--there is no one left is music with any brave opinions.
Jeff <jwesolowski>
- Sun, Dec 13, 1998 at 18:23:50 (PST)

I think referring to Public Enemy as "fickle, commercial and appealing to the basest sense" indicates that you've never heard them. It's one thing if you don't like rap--that's cool. But PE spoke about real problems in an innovative way. I agree that most hip hop today is how you described it (though I admit I like a lot of it), but PE has been around for a long time. As for Chuck D accepting other types of music, see PE's team up with Anthrax. I know, it's heavy metal,'s something, isn't it?
brian <[email protected]>
- Sun, Dec 13, 1998 at 19:32:13 (PST)

It's all good when Chuck is spreading the love around. Keeping Morrissey alive in the hearts of us all out here in the middle of the Golden state.
Nathan Nolan <[email protected]>
Manteca, Ca. - Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 00:51:43 (PST)

Why the hell is the link between these two names/titles
Louder than Bombs
Public Enemy

David Ranc <[email protected]>
- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 03:25:11 (PST)

Why am I not surprised that so many Mozza fans seem to have a problem with Public Enemy paying homage to a Smiths title? Far from being "base" (and btw, has the kind and oh so enlightened individual who used that term ever actually listened to rap music? Thought not...) PE are one of the most intelligent and articulate groups to come out of the eighties, period. There is life outside indie, you know. It's about time some of you explored it.
NTG <[email protected]>
- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 04:57:02 (PST)

As far as Public Enemy goes, yes, I have heard their albums (at least two different ones), although I do not admit to ever owning one. To me, politcally motivated music almost always nosedives into silly petulant anthems that are popular more due to a typically brute, masculine appeal than for any message said. Often the message is slang- and profanity-laden and obtusely aimed at conservative, right-wing groups that are easily attacked without discipline to appeal to bored rich kids who're angry that their parents spank and ground them. As we all know, the predominant rap consumership, is, yes, white college kids. As far as rap in general, my cd collection briskly deals with Akinyele and NWA for their hilarious misogyny, dabbles in 311 and has stock in Rage. So, no, I am not a typical rap fan, but have listened to it, especially due to the fact that most of my good friends constantly listen it--more due to the fact that most women listen to it than anything else. But, let's face it, Rage being an even better example than P.E.--artists today have a huge responsibility towards their audience to advise teach, influence and inspire, and P.E., for one, simply manages to make outdated, musically sparse and dull albums that ultimately say nothing. I can't remember one clever, thoughful or inspirational line by the boring, rhetorical, obligatory Chuck D. And don't go looking at the lyrics for "bring the noise" to dispute my claim. How silly.
Jeff <[email protected]>
- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 08:05:39 (PST)

I totally agree.
Eddie Riff <Eddie [email protected]>
- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 10:31:35 (PST)

You know, any thing defamatory you say about PE just confirms most peoples' suspicions about Morrissey fans. Sit in your rooms with your daffodils if you must, but please check your prejuidice at the door.
NTG <[email protected]>
- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 11:19:14 (PST)

Yes! Finally, I have a link between my favorite rap group to my favorite artist. Both have lead me into a positive direction so please don't dis P.E.
Pep <[email protected]>
- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 13:31:47 (PST)

I heard that Moz's next album will be titled "More Fearfull of a Black Planet" Go figure.
Thank god for Public Enema.

- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 22:59:22 (PST)

I guess, in this PC day and age, you're not ALLOWED to not like rap music without being thought of as narrow-minded. Personally, I don't happen to like preachy groups, whatever their genre. Sting can go save the rain forest; I'd rather listen to Morrissey sing about his miserable life for the zillionth time.

Personally, I think most rap music is bosh, and if that makes me narrow-minded, then so be it. I may live in my own little world, but that's OK: they like me there!

Swallow On His Neck
- Mon, Dec 14, 1998 at 23:35:55 (PST)

Little boy, no one ever said you weren't allowed to dislike all rap music - it just confirms you're a bit dull and silly, is all. And *do* they like you in your little world? Well, that's a question for the ages I suppose...As for the "Fearful of a Black Planet" jibe - I suspect you are, hence the ignorance.
NTG <[email protected]>
- Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 04:40:30 (PST)

we obviously need a little moz quote at this stage ... after all people, you all seem quite intelligent, and listen to the lyrics rather than just head bang...."but don't forget the songs that made you cry and the songs that saved your life....." whether PE or Moz, hey!!
julie <[email protected]>
oz - Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 05:12:08 (PST)

It seems I started a bit of a firestorm, so I should probably clarify my comments. My primary aim was to criticize Morrissey's "rap is crap"-type sentiments expressed in various interviews. I can't really come up with a direct quote, but it's something along the lines of "isn't rap just the same song done a thousand times over?"

I don't have a particular problem with anyone not *liking* rap (god knows I don't like much of the plastic "r&b" being released these days), but simply dismissing an entire genre of music is indicative of someone who is far too insular and narrow-minded.

I also find it amusing that someone who presumably is a fan of the person who wrote "Margaret on the Guillotine" and the line "there are bad people on the right" would decry "silly, petulant" polictical anthems...and I can't imagine why anyone would characterize Public Enemy as among those who create such works. And if you'd like a citation of a song of theirs that trafficks in specific issues instead of merely anthems, try "Shut 'Em Down", which directly addresses the abundance of liquor stores in black neighborhoods....a little more prescient than "Meat is Murder", I'd have to say.

Anyway, I guess my sentiments might point to the notion that I'm decrying Morrissey and his actiosn, but they're really more aimed at his fanbase. Morrissey lovers have the alarming tendency to approve whatever he does and says, no matter how gauche and juvenile. This is why the typical Morrissey fan seems so ridiculous to the outsider, and why I imagine that behind the kindly veneer, Morrissey is probably a bit distressed by the behavior of his devotees. Devotion is one thing, but unquestioning approval is quite another.

I dunno...just open the mind a bit and don't exclusively listen to the likes of Marion and Geneva is all I'm saying.

Matt Laflin <[email protected]>
- Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 09:14:35 (PST)

Rap is vile
Hang all the DJ's
"Becasue the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life"
I not narrow minded I just now what I like.
I listened to different rap artists and there music means nothing to me.
And thats my problem and I dicovered rap was vile before i found moz.
What morrisey sings is beautiful.
Rap is meaningless.

MOZlover -4ever
ca - Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 11:46:50 (PST)

Heres a bit of what MOZ said on rap music in mag Rocksound Jan.93,"I don't consider it music. It's just convential....It's a degree of zero music.

site:It may all end tommarrow

MOZlover -4ever
ca - Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 11:59:45 (PST)

Why is anyone shocked that a rap "artist" would "borrow" another artists/groups ideas? Rap music, no matter what your opinion, reached its creative peak about four years ago and has simply becme an "industry" of remakes and heavy samples since. PE most likely chose this title in the hopes it will draw people to buy the record. Remember, all groups/artists are in it to make money. I doubt the title has little if anything to do with Chuck D. "being aware " of it in the 80,s.
- Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 15:17:16 (PST)

i am not insular or narrow minded if i dismiss rap music. i dislike rap because i am a person and have my own tastes in everything from music to coffee...if i think rap is crap, it is my right as an individual to be allowed to say so. you (matt) certainly seem to think you have the right to say you do like it.
julie <[email protected]>
oz - Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 21:18:29 (PST)

What's the Big Deal? I cannot say whether I like or dislike PE because I am not very familiar with their music, as I am sure that many of you are not either because you automatically hate rap music, BUT I had the pleasure to meet Chuck D once and I say "pleasure" because he was a very polite and respectable person.
Who cares? It's just a title for God's sake.

Juan Emett
Riverside, Ca - Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 23:07:02 (PST)

It amazes me to read such ignorance and babble about such a theme from people who I thought had a keen sense of music. Morrissey's music is important to us because all of us who have ventured into this website know that we have felt the let-down of life, or the absence of love, or the need to loathe. So who's to say that those who prefer PE aren't right? Who are we to say that their lyrics are meaningless to all when they're only meaningless to oneself?
Those who insist that rap is vile, please make note that it's your opinion (not really to the reader, but to yourself), and your opinion about such a topic: Rap v., frankly, meaningless.
Would you, yourself, ever call somebody who publicly denounced Morrissey/Smiths work, for the sole reason of not ever relating, ignorant?

Tony <[email protected]>
- Wed, Dec 16, 1998 at 18:45:04 (PST)


MOZZER <[email protected]>
SAN BERNARDINO - Wed, Dec 16, 1998 at 19:33:38 (PST)

i repeat. if i choose to think rap is crap, i'm allowed. because it's my personal opinion. and my personal opinion is only relevant to me. no one can tell me OR YELL AT ME, for that matter, and tell me to like it. just like i prefer expresso coffee to instant (now there's an argument!!). hey people, in my subtle way, i'm actually agreeing with you here. (doh!).
julie <[email protected]>
oz - Thu, Dec 17, 1998 at 05:01:05 (PST)

I have nothing to declare but my jeans..

no long, deep comments here..

W.H. Smith <[email protected]>
- Thu, Dec 17, 1998 at 19:49:25 (PST)

rap is.. the big fake.. the quiet storm..

.. resignedness is real..

TJW <..>
West coast canada - Fri, Dec 18, 1998 at 18:06:04 (PST)

Way back in my rap days pre alternantive, I used to love Public Enemy. It wasnt cause of their message and wasnt cause i was a wanna be. It just sounded really cool. Especially Chuck D's voice. Now that I like Morrissey I think its pretty neat that there is a slight link with the two. And as much as Im fond of Morrissey, I find his outlook on pop culture a bit prudish. I always come away from an interview with him feeling that he hates anything new and popular just because its new and popular. Like if they arent dead or it isnt in black and white, its rubbish. Im sure its not completely true but it usually seems that way. Maybe its just me.
Grant <[email protected]>
RI - Mon, Dec 21, 1998 at 10:15:39 (PST)

I think it's kinda refreshing that Morrissey is "stuck" in his own little world of 60s British pop culture and the like - that's the person he is, and he hasn't embraced every little trend just to be "cool." It sets him apart from everyone else, I feel. We may not all agree with his way of thinking, but I must ask: what brought us all to this site? OUR LOVE OF MORRISSEY.
Swallow On His Neck
- Tue, Dec 22, 1998 at 12:04:59 (PST)

look everyone rap is crap and dont even try to call moz or me narrow minded. If anyone has listened to all his smiths and solo albums you will see that he has worked with different types of music(even though his lyrics dont stray much). I listen from surf, to rockabilly, to dance, to brit pop, but i know what's crap and that's rap. Yeah all music genres have it's goods but in general rap, r&b, and the likes are bad music. Now you wanna know another influence the smiths had on a big band? Oasis' Noel Gallagher mentioned that his biggest guitar hero when young was Johnny Marr which transcended to a great friendship up to now.
miami,fl - Tue, Dec 22, 1998 at 12:39:32 (PST)

Morrissey is a big fan of Beck. Now how does that fit into the equation? I personally thought the Beasties' "Hello Nasty" was the best album of the year.
Marshall Fields <[email protected]>
- Wed, Dec 23, 1998 at 08:02:08 (PST)

Maybe he has a crush on Beck? He IS damned cute! = )
Swallow On His Neck
- Wed, Dec 23, 1998 at 08:44:56 (PST)

Ugh. I think I'll go back to the message about Sex and Music to listen to while having...
MCTalley <[email protected]>
- Wed, Dec 23, 1998 at 18:05:27 (PST)

* return to Morrissey-solo