“There are those who say Wire was the best punk band ever because it broke all of the rules, didn’t stick with any of the blueprints and did actually what it wanted,” Colin Newman told Rolling Stone in 2013. “I just wouldn’t call that punk, personally. Punk is just one of those words that’s so overused that you have no idea what it means anymore.”
Change Becomes Us (2013)
There are many bands who are inspired -- and lucky -- enough to have never released a bad album. Wire aren't quite one of those bands, but the lackluster albums aren't outright disasters, and even when working with some of their least interesting material, you can hear a kernel of inspiration amid the mediocre moments. To their credit, though, Wire never stuck with one idea for too long, so if something didn't work, they'd move on to the next one without hesitation. Even if an idea did work, come to think of it, they'd still move on.
Wire might not have always been interested in acknowledging their own history -- we all heard what happened when the rowdy punk crowd on Document & Eyewitness wanted to hear "12XU" -- but they're keenly aware of it. When they've ignored their early records, as they did in the '80s, it was in an effort to redefine what Wire could be, even if the act itself seemed like a stubborn dismissal of some of the best work they ever created. By contrast, when the band restarted again around 2000, it was everything between The Ideal Copy and The First Letter that ended up on the no-fly list.