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Juju is the fourth studio album by British post-punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees. It was recorded at Surrey Sound studio with Nigel Gray as co-producer, and was released on 6 June 1981 by record label Polydor. Two singles were released from Juju: "Spellbound" and "Arabian Knights".

The album was commercially successful in the UK. It was also acclaimed by critics upon its release, with praise given particularly to John McGeoch's unconventional guitar-playing andSiouxsie's vocal performances. It remains a critical favourite to this day, and is seen as a landmark album of post-punk.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Background

Background[edit]Edit

After the slightly electronic bent of their previous album, 1980's Kaleidoscope, the Banshees returned to a guitar-based sound for Juju, due to the presence of now-official guitarist John McGeoch. The album also prominently featured the intricate percussion work of band member Budgie.

According to Steven Severin:

Juju was the first time we'd made a "concept" album that drew on darker elements. It wasn't pre-planned, but, as we were writing, we saw a definite thread running through the songs; almost a narrative to the album as a whole.[1]

The album was recorded at Nigel Gray's Surrey Sound studio with Gray as co-producer.

The sleeve reproduced a picture of an African statue that they found at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill.[1]

Release[edit]Edit

Juju reached No. 7 in the UK Albums Chart, remaining in the chart for 17 weeks.[2]

The album was remastered and re-issued in May 2006.

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [3]
Sounds [4]

Sounds hailed the album at its release, observing that Siouxsie's voice "seems to have acquired a new fullness of melody" with "a rich, dark smoothness". Musically, writer Betty Page noted: "the way this unit operates is impressively cohesive, like one brain the inventive musical talents of [guitarist] McGeoch, [drummer] Budgie and [bassist] Severin mesh perfectly with Siouxsie". She also praised McGeoch as being "the only man who can make an acoustic guitar sound foreboding".[4]

In their retrospective review, AllMusic wrote, "The upfront intensity of Juju probably isn't matched anywhere else in the catalog of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Thanks to its killer singles, unrelenting force and invigorating dynamics, Juju is a post-punk classic."[3]

In 2007, The Guardian placed Juju on its "1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die" list, writing, "Perennial masters of brooding suspense, the Banshees honed their trademark aloof art-rock to its hardest and darkest pitch on Juju."[5] It was featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[6]

Legacy[edit]Edit

In 1995, Melody Maker writer Cathi Unsworth described Juju as "one of the most influential British albums ever".[7]

John McGeoch's guitar playing in particular was singled out for praise. Mojo honoured him in 2006 by placing him in their list of the 100 greatest guitarists ever for his work on "Spellbound".[8] Johnny Marr of The Smiths said on BBC Radio 2 in February 2008 that he also rated McGeoch highly for his work on "Spellbound". Marr qualified it as "clever", with a "really good picky thing going on which is very un-rock'n'roll".[9] In Uncut, Marr also rated McGeoch at his 10th favourite guitarist for his work on Juju and Real Life by Magazine.[10]

Another member of The Smiths, singer Morrissey, commented on "Spellbound" during an interview for the US KROQ-FM radio station in 1997:

[...] another great single. A hit in England. Certainly not here, I don't think. But they were one of the great groups of the late '70s, early '80s, and very underrated, I think. Siouxsie and the Banshees were excellent [...]"[11]

Morrissey later cited Juju as an influence in an interview with GQ in 2005.[12]

Musical style[edit]Edit

Juju is a post-punk album: it was only recognised under this term by Allmusic.[3] The record was also qualified as "art-rock" by The Guardian which also dubbed the two singles as "pop marvels".[5]

However, Juju has also been cited by certain critics as a gothic rock album,[13][14] though the band dispute such categorisation.[1] Siouxsie commented: "Gothic in its purest sense is actually a very powerful, twisted genre, but the way it was being used by journalists—"goff" with a double "f"—always seemed to me to be about tacky harum scarum horror, and I find that anything but scary. That wasn't what we were about at all."[1]

Track listing[edit]Edit

All lyrics written by Siouxsie Sioux, except as noted, all music composed by Siouxsie and the Banshees (Sioux, Steven SeverinBudgie and John McGeoch).

Side A
No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Spellbound"   Severin 3:20
2. "Into the Light"   4:15
3. "Arabian Knights"   3:23
4. "Halloween"   Severin 3:37
5. "Monitor"   5:33
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Night Shift"   6:06
2. "Sin in My Heart"   3:37
3. "Head Cut"   4:22
4. "Voodoo Dolly"   7:04

Personnel[edit]Edit

Siouxsie and the Banshees
Technical
  • Nigel Gray – production
  • Rob O'Connor – sleeve design
  • Joe Lyons – sleeve photography
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