Album: Real Life (Virgin, 1978) Chart pos: UK#41
I can remember discovering this song a couple of years ago while I was on the bus home from work , after pressing the random button on my mp3 player this song popped up and the nihilistic post-punk struck an instant chord and from then on I was hooked. Magazine was a band that occupied a strange place in the UK’s post-punk landscape, being too virtuoso to be punk, too nihilistic to be New Wave or New Romantic (despite Formula, McGeoch and Adamson’s ties with Visage) and not quite dark enough to be part of the fledgling Goth scene (although McGeoch left them in 1980 to join Siouxsie and the Banshees).
Shot by Both Sides was the bands first single and the shows the band at their most raw, with the song based around a riff that was also used on The Buzzcocks B-side Lipstick (hence Shelley’s co-writing credit). The is quite unique musically amongst their body of work as it fits easily into the post-punk zeitgeist, while the lyrics could be seen as a metaphor for Devoto’s desire to break free from punk’s sloganeering and empty political statements. Dave Formula’s menacing synths were non existent here (he was yet to join the band) and Barry Adamson’s criminally underrated bass playing isn’t pushed to the fore as it would in later releases. So while this single was possibly one of the greatest opening statements of post-punk the band went on to bigger and better things and created a unique sound that has been continuously emulated by others, especially bands like Simple Minds and Maximo Park.
Unfortunatly i couldn't find the single version on You Tube so this will have to do. In this video Devoto looks quite androgynous in a balding Brian Eno esque sorta way.