Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked Worst to First (The Billy Idol Series)

For the past 8 to 9 months, I have been reviewing the entire Billy Idol catalog from Generation X back in 1978 through his solo years and even a Generation X single released in 2019 on Record Store Day.  It has been such a fun journey and I hate it has come to an end.  To wrap it up, we are going to rank all the studio albums from his very worst (and it is bad) to his very best (which is sensational).

 

THE WORST – HAPPY HOLIDAYS (2006):

I am not sure what Billy was thinking, but this should have never been released and probably never recorded.  Hell, it is so bad that even Steve Stevens wasn’t involved with recording it.  That should tell you something right there!!  It is a rehash of classic Christmas songs that we are better off listening to the originals as these do not spark any Christmas cheer.

The original songs Billy wrote throw every cliche in the book out as lyrics and they are sappy, crappy songs.  The best thing about “Happy Holidays” is that it is only 2 minutes.  The only good thing about “Christmas Love” is that it does eventually end. My Christmas gift to you is to avoid this at any cost.

#14 – GENERATION X – VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1979):

I thought the production of the album wasn’t good at all as it seemed there was no clear direction and the songs didn’t feel like they were a cohesive package.  It felt like the band didn’t know what they wanted to sound like and were still finding themselves.  Maybe Billy was too busy looking to go solo, who knows, but this was not a good effort.

I did like a handful of songs and they will go nicely in my Billy Idol playlist, but other than that you can skip this album. The songs I did like were “King Rocker”and “Valley of the Dolls” as those were the best.  “Night of the Cadillac”, “Running with The Boss Sound” along with “Fridays Angels” were decent enough tracks, but nothing else.  I haven’t revisited this one in awhile.

#13 – WHIPLASH SMILE (1986):

The album lacks the amount of solid songs as ‘Rebel Yell’ and is not one I actually go back to listen.  For me, it is a disappointing album and now knowing about all the drug use, I can feel the lack of clarity and cohesiveness in the album. I hate Billy and Steve had this as their last album together (at the time)…at least they make up for it years later.

Being his heyday, I expected more from this release and it does have some good songs such as “To Be A Lover”, “Sweet Sixteen” and “Don’t Need a Gun”.  You might also enjoy “World’s Forgotten Boy” and “Soul Standing By” but avoid Side B at all cost.  That side is almost unlistenable.

#12 – REVITALIZED (2018):

Not all the songs are perfect, but the album is interesting and at times fun.  It isn’t as good as the original ‘Vital Idol’, but has elements that make it worth having.  Billy’s songs are brought into the 21st century with remixes coming from some of the best EDM artist of 2018 including Paul Oakenfold, Moby, The Crystal Method, CRAY and many more.

The remix of “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol & Steve Steven is fun with the “Get Laid, Get Fucked” thrown in.  Any of the mixes that keep the Steve Steven’s guitar are worth listening to as well and I even liked the complete reimagining of “Don’t Need a Gun” and the all instrumental of “Save Me Now”.  Like I said, it is in the ver least, interesting and a fun and a nice change of pace.

#11 – GENERATION X – K.M.D. SWEET REVENGE (1998):

The album is really good and a surprise as it is a release of demos and released in 1998 when former Generation X guitarist Derwood Andrews released it due to some contract obligations without the consent of Billy Idol and Tony James.  Billy & Tony were able to block the release in the U.S., but not anywhere else.  The songs were in demo form and not fully realized tracks.

There are some great tracks and some little gems that would go on to be very successful songs for Billy Idol.  I love the name of the album and the resentment behind this release for Derwood and with some great tunes  I enjoyed this release a lot more than I thought. I liked “Modern Boys”, “Triumph”, “Girls Girls Girls”, “Anna Smiles” and “Flash as Hell” along with the demo of “Dancing With Myself (always a great song).  I think this is worth a listen.

#10 – BILLY IDOL (1982):

It isn’t my favorite Billy Idol album, but it is still a great debut.  With some classic songs and great deep cuts, you have a solid release that is a pre-cursor to what is to come.  I think Billy was finding himself on this one and turned his punk past into a danceable pop and rock combination that was full of the punk attitude.  He was breaking free at just the right time.  Oh yeah, and now that Steve Stevens was on board, the two together were going on to some great things.

And album that has “White Wedding” and “Hot in the City” must be great.  To be at #10 on his list just tells you how good the rest must be.  I also dug this version of “Dancing With Myself” along with “Come On, Come On” and you can’t forget “Love Calling”.  Really a great set and why is it so low now?

#9 – GENERATION X – KISS ME DEADLY (1981):

Overall I liked this a lot more than ‘Valley of the Dolls’, but not quite as much as the debut album.  It is a tale of two halves with the album.  The first half is more danceable and a precursor to what Billy Idol was to become. The second half was more a reminder of the punk days of Generation X.  The two together meld nicely for me.  I am not sure why this album gets such a bad rap, because I actually enjoyed it.  Maybe I have no taste or critics don’t know shit.  I am going with the second one.  And no, I am not a critic, I am blogger, critics get paid and I do not.  I am a fan first and foremost.

This is the album with the original release of “Dancing With Myself” and it is fantastic.  You should also check out “Untouchables”, “Heavens Inside”, “Triumph” and don’t forget “What Do You Want”, “Poison” and “oh Mother”.  It has a lot on here for you to enjoy.

#8 – DON’T STOP E.P. (1981):

The Billy Idol debut and if this was your first introduction to Billy, I think you would be excited as these 4 songs are all great.  It is an exciting introduction and would definitely leave me wanting to hear more.  As I think all songs are all good despite the fact 3 songs are covers (2 Gen X covers at that so are they really covers?).

You get “Dancing With Myself” and “Untouchables” from Gen X and then you get “Mony Mony” which Billy made his own song even though it is a cover.  The last song is “Baby Talk” and though not his strongest still great.  A nice start to his career!

#7 – CYBERPUNK (1993):

A very underrated album for Billy.  The 90’s were tough as 80’s acts were being killed off in droves thanks to Grunge.  Billy went full on experimental mode and dived down the rabbit hole of the Cyberpunk movement and the use of technology to make music.  He was actually ahead of the times with this and eventually everyone else would catch up.

The songs on here are that are good are great and that is why I like this so much.  I really loved “Wasteland”, “Shock to the System” and “Tomorrow People”.  When you get to “Neuromancer” and “Power Junkie” you are completely bought in to his new sound.  Despite a lackluster back half of of the album, that first half saves the day and I like it each more with every listen.

#6 – GENERATION X – GENERATION X (1978):

I really dug this album.  I love to see the beginnings of Billy Idol and knowing where he ends up is great.  I agree that Generation X aren’t as punk as a lot of bands of the time, but I think this album holds up really well and there are some great tracks. They have attitude and the songs are punk, but it is also a little more danceable and less punk preaching which is fine with me.

You get the classic songs of “Ready Steady Go” which he still plays today along with “One Hundred Punks” and “Kleenex”.  Other great tracks include “Promises Promises”, “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Youth Youth Youth”.  If you get any Generation X album, this should be the one, hands down!

#5 – VITAL IDOL (1985/1987):

Billy set the bar pretty high for Remix albums after this beauty was released.  The remixes were complete re-imagining of the songs, but they were done in a way to enhance and even improve on the original songs.  It was bloody brilliant.  It actually made me want to dance…and I don’t dance.

The remixes that stood out to me were “Flesh For Fantasy”, which might be favorite version of this song, as well as “Mony Mony”.  And of course “White Wedding” (both Part 1 and 2), “Hot In the City” and “Catch My Fall” are all fantastic.  “Love Calling” stood out to with the woman making all the orgasmic sounds throughout the mix and when you were a teenager listening to this that was quite memorable.

#4 – CHARMED LIFE (1990):

Production was fantastic, the songs were top notch and the guitar sound was way more than I expected.  After the disappointing, ‘Whiplash Smile’…well disappointing to me, this album came out with a bang and stayed in heavy rotation for a long time when I originally picked this up back in the day.  And I spun it a ton for this review.  Billy proved that he could do this without Steve Stevens on guitar.

With songs like the cheesy “Cradle of Love” and “Pumping on Steel”, I was hooked from the get go.  The Door’s cover of “LA Woman” was so different and a real rocker as well as songs like “The Loveless” and “Endless Sleep” I couldn’t get enough of this one. In fact, only one song I didn’t like and that is pretty good.

#3 – DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (2005):

And yes, the album is a little all over the board with styles, but for me it worked.  It was a solid album.  It rocked out at times more so than he has ever done.  It checked so many boxes for me on what I want from a Billy Idol album.  This was the first album with Steve Stevens back at guitar and to have the whole gang back together, damn it was awesome.  He kept it old and yet modern sounding as well.  Just a fantastic album.

The standout tracks for me were “Super Overdrive”, “World Comin’ Down”, “Rat Race”, “Scream”, “Plastic Jesus”, “Body Snatcher” and “Evil Eye”…I almost named every song so that should tell you something.  Even the Christmas song “Yellin’ at the Xmas Tree” was awesome.  Easily a Top 3 and could be #2, just depends my mood.

#2 – KINGS & QUEENS OF THE UNDERGROUND (2014):

I found this to be one of his best albums and at this late in his career it is amazing.  I love the retrospective feel to the album, I loved the sonics, I loved almost everything about it.  It is a modern album, that feels like classic Billy Idol.  There is a lot of soul-searching going and it feels like a cathartic exercise in releasing his demons.  It was the perfect companion piece for his book that came out at the same time.

The title should have been based on the song “Postcards from the Past” as it felt like little snapshots of his life.  My all time favorite Billy song is on here with “Save Me Now”…simply the best song.  You also get “Bitter Pill”, “One Breath Away”, “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Whiskey & Pills”.  Just a stellar album from beginning to end.

#1 – REBEL YELL (1983):

The album brings New Wave and Rock together and captures that energy and magic in a way that few albums ever would. Billy Idol set himself apart from the other artists at the time and became a bonafide rock star and a huge Video star.  There are so many iconic, classic Billy Idol tracks on here that this is easily one of his best.

The title track alone is reason enough.  “Rebel Yell” is an instant rocker and perfect when he plays it live.  Throw in “Eyes Without a Face”, “Blue Highway” and “Flesh for Fantasy” and most artist would kill to have one of these songs on their album…he has all of them.  With “Catch My Fall” and another personal favorite “(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows”, this one is hard to beat.

And there you have it, the Billy Idol studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best.  Let me know what you think.  Where did we differ and where did we agree.  What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!

Now, if you want to check out the full reviews and the entire Billy Idol Series, click on any and all of the links below…

  1. Generation X – ‘Generation X’
  2. Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
  3. Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
  4. Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’
  5. Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
  6. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  7. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  8. Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
  9. Billy Idol – Vital Idol
  10. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  11. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  12. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  13. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  14. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  15. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  16. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  17. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  18. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  19. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  20. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  21. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)

 

Advertisements

Generation X – “Your Generation” 7″ Record Store Day Release – Single Review (The Billy Idol Series)

This is the last in the Billy Idol Series.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have in writing it.  There could be one more in the series if I get the Generation X Deluxe Set that was just released, but I have not grabbed a hold of yet.  When I get it, I will do a review of it, but for now, we will end the series with this beauty right here.  I started with a Generation X release and I will end with one as well.

For Record Store Day 2019, Generation X released a special 7″ Single of the band’s debut song “Your Generation”.  The song is not the original version, but the Winstanley Mix which is done in conjunction with the release of a Deluxe Edition of the band’s debut album.  This remix is not on the box set, but in addition to and a must grab for Generation X fans.

The original song was released as a single in 1977, however, it did not show up on the debut album.  It wasn’t until the 2002 re-issue of the debut that this song saw new light.  The B-Side of this single  is “Trying for Kicks” which was also on the 2002 re-issue and not used for the original album.

IMG_0622

The 7″ Single release was on red vinyl and is absolutely beautiful and a nice add to the collection.

Continue reading “Generation X – “Your Generation” 7″ Record Store Day Release – Single Review (The Billy Idol Series)”

Tuesday’s Memes – Def Leppard (#2)

It has been a long while since I have put together a collection of Def Leppard memes from around the internet, so we are going to do it again.  I have to apologize for a lot of the Rick Allen jokes, but apparently people find them funny and have made a ton of memes on him alone.  I hope something on here brightens your day.  Have a great week!!

The Songs…

very-disappointing-when-your-child-sings-let-it-go-and-its-not-the-def-leppard-version-58954

i.chzbgr-13

13129153_1708875449388541_733406482_n Continue reading “Tuesday’s Memes – Def Leppard (#2)”

Ed Sheeran – “Blow” (with Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars) – Single Review

I know what you are thinking, Why am I writing about an Ed Sheeran song?  Well, I will tell you, I am not real sure.  His new album is nothing but collaborations with mostly hip hop and pop artist and honestly, it isn’t that great.  It is pretty stale for me.  I would rather hear just Ed as to me that is where he shines.  Now, I am an old fart and don’t get today’s music, all that crap, but I do know a good song when I hear it.

Oh yeah, now I remember.  There is one song on the album, the very last song, that totally kicks ass.  It is his collaboration with Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars.  The song is called “Blow” and is the heaviest and most rocking song Ed Sheeran has ever done…at least from what I have heard of his work.

The song starts off with a gritty, distorted guitar riff and a scream all reminiscent of Greta Van Fleet and lyrically it is all about sex.  With a heavy drum beat and a great rhythm section that funks it up a little, the song blazes through all the hooks and melodies that make a great little rock song. Oh yeah and there is a guitar solo…What!!!!…yep, they threw everything in and then some.

NO.6_4000x4000-LO-1558618651-640x640.jpg

Continue reading “Ed Sheeran – “Blow” (with Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars) – Single Review”

My Sunday Song – “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #152, we are discussing the song “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” by Def Leppard off their 1981 album ‘High N Dry’.  The song was written by the late Steve Clark and Joe Elliott.  It is one of those deep cuts that sticks with you and at times you feel is even better than anything else on the album (at times, not all the time).

The song is up for interpretation.  It could be about two different, but similar things.  The one I like to go with is that the “Mirror” is that mirror on the table with lines of Coke on it.  As he is sniffing up the coke and the lines disappear, the mirror is suddenly staring at him and he has to face his demons.  It is a rather dark viewpoint, but the one I feel is quite plausible.  The lyrics in this verse is what leads me to that conclusion…

Mirror mirror 
Hangin’ there with that crack in your eye 
You make me stumble, make me blind 
Time after time and line by line 

The “line by line” part fits in to the theory nicely.  But the “hangin'” part leads me to the other theory.

The other theory is that he is just standing there looking in the mirror and it is forcing him to take a deeper look into what he has become.  He doesn’t like what he sees, but he feels so lost.  The anger builds up and he smashes the mirror into little pieces.  Those pieces are his life.

def-leppard-album-cover_534906

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” by Def Leppard”

Friday New Releases – July 12th

We are in the second half of the year now and I was hoping for that releases would start to get better after a lackluster first half.  Well, so far, my hopes are dashed.  It is another blah week.  There is one on the list I will listen to and it is mainly because my kids will be listening to him.  It is highlighted in Blue.  Hopefully something floats your boat.  Let me know what that might be or if I missed anything.  Thanks and have a great weekend!!

  • 91L9kVW4nmL._SS500_.jpg  Ed Sheeran – No. 6: Collaborations Project – (Asylum Records):  This album would excite me, BUT, it is a collaboration album…boring!!  No interest whatsoever.  He is best when it is just him…he doesn’t need anyone else so not sure why do this.  It could turn out to be fantastic, who knows.

  • 81GcapB3YeL._SX522_.jpg  311 – Voyager – (BMG):  Ok, this one could be interesting.  I haven’t really listened to much of them since the 90’s, but hey, I need something to listen to this week so why not.

Continue reading “Friday New Releases – July 12th”

The Original vs. The Cover – “Dazed & Confused”

For this month’s version of The Original vs. the Cover, we are going to discuss the Jake Holmes song “Dazed and Confused” that was later covered (or stolen) by Led Zeppelin.  The Jake Holmes song was released in 1967. Jimmy Page heard this song when Jake’s band and Jimmy Page’s band The Yardbirds were on the same bill.  Jimmy took the song and made several changes to it and performed it with the Yardbirds.  However, it didn’t get recorded until 1968 with Pages new band Led Zeppelin.

I say stole, because Page didn’t credit Holmes as the songwriter with the Led Zeppelin release.  Page felt he had made enough changes to the song that he didn’t need to credit Mr. Holmes.  And for the longest time Holmes did nothing until 2010 when he finally filed suit against Page.  The lawsuit never made it to court as it was eventually settled out of court.  Now, when the song is on an album that is newly released from Zeppelin it says…inspired by Jake Holmes.

Enough of the dirty music business.  Let us focus on the song and which version is better.  We will start as we usually do with the Original and then discuss the Cover ending with a wonderful Verdict of which one I like more.  And away we go…

 

JAKE HOLMES

Front copy

The song was recorded in 1967 for Jake’s debut album, ‘The Above Ground Sound”. It was recorded as a trio with only an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a bass.  No drums!!  And honestly, you don’t miss them.  The song is a trippy, psychedelic wonder.  The song feels like a bad acid trip, full of paranoia and god knows what.  Holmes at one time said it was about a girl and that can be true because women have dazed and confused men for centuries.

Continue reading “The Original vs. The Cover – “Dazed & Confused””

Billy Idol – ‘Revitalized’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

We are to the final studio album released in our Billy Idol Series which means we are really close to the end of the series which makes me a little sad as I have enjoyed doing this series.  The next album up for review is a  remix album of Billy’s hits called ‘Revitalized’ which was released in September 2018 and is 31 years after the release of his first remix album called ‘Vital Idol’.

Billy’s songs are brought into the 21st century with remixes coming from some of the best EDM artist of 2018 including Paul Oakenfold, Moby, The Crystal Method, CRAY and many more.  The original album has 11 tracks where the digital version gives you an additional 4 tracks for 15 songs total.

vital-idol-revitalized-1014x487

I guess I will preface this by saying the album is full of hits songs and the remixes are all worth a listen, but nothing beats the original songs and actually nothing is better than Vital Idol.  These songs are good and give us a look at them in a new, modern light.  For fans it is fun and a must have for the collection; however, nothing groundbreaking here like Vital Idol was.

Continue reading “Billy Idol – ‘Revitalized’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)”

Tuesday’s Memes – The Stray Cats

The Stray Cats are back with a new album after 26 years since the last.  Wow!!  That is a long time.  I had to do a Memes collection of the band, plus it gives me an excuse to have the first collection to be nothing but CATS!!  Real cats and Stray Cats!!!

The Songs…

ffbb0bb2c7e0aec9d9fd556368ed409e

1oe2m4

Continue reading “Tuesday’s Memes – The Stray Cats”

Texas Hippie Coalition – ‘High in the Saddle’ – Album Review

What’s the old saying…”Things are bigger in Texas”.  That can’t be more true than Texas Hippie Coalition.  The music is bigger and so is the singer Big Dad Ritch!  No, I am not talking about his size (which is Big) but I am talking that voice. It is loud and menacing!

The band is back with their sixth album and first with their new label Entertainment One.  A “big” step up for the boys.  Their music is a soundtrack to Bar Fights and even for  Strip Club dances.  It is loud, gritty, dirty and downright nasty!  It is pure Texas Metal!!  From the opening salvo of “Moonshine” all the way to “Blue Lights On” they assault you with blistering guitars and head banging drums.

D21JkucXcAAANIu

Continue reading “Texas Hippie Coalition – ‘High in the Saddle’ – Album Review”