Like a lot of musicians during the pandemic, Billy Idol kept himself busy recording his first new music in 7 years with ‘The Roadside’ E.P. Sadly, it is only four songs, but as a fan I will take what I can get. One of my favorite albums of Billy’s was his last album ‘Kings & Queens of the Underground’ so I have been waiting to see where he goes next and now we know. And I am excited as I can add a new post to the fantastic Billy Idol Series we did here on the site. I don’t know if this series will ever come to an end and I sure hope it doesn’t as I love having new Billy Idol music to hear.
The album was produced by producer Butch Walker (He’s worked with Matt Nathanson who I love) and Billy had his partner-in-crime, Steve Stevens, at his side to help him co-write and create new music. The three together were able to craft a great little nugget of music that will hopefully be the first of many from Billy in the future. The most recent thing we’ve had prior to this was a song Billy did with Miley Cyrus called “Night Crawling” which was fantastic. You know, that makes me think I need to review that song for the series as well. I will get on that.
I have a copy of the E.P. that should be arriving today, but I couldn’t wait to review it so I went ahead and did that thanks to streaming. My version that is in the mail is the standard black edition with one big difference. Mine will be autographed by the man himself! Yep, Billy Idol autographed my copy just for me…plus anyone else’s copy that ordered one.
The first track on the E.P., “Rita Hayworth” explodes out of the gate with a bunch Oh’s-Oh’s and hard driving beat. It is an extremely fast tempo that never lets up. The song seems to be about the abusive producers in Hollywood that tell you are going to be the next big star, but it is nothing but abuse, drugs and the hell of all hells. What starlet wouldn’t want to be told she looked like Rita Hayworth and be the next big star. Rita was beautiful (just see below). For those kids that are too young to know Rita, she was a famous in the 40’s and 50’s and acted in over 61 movies I believe.
The song “Bitter Taste” was the first single from the E.P. and sees Billy getting all reflective as he looks back on his motorcycle crash from the early 90’s where he was seriously hurt. He almost lost his leg and basically had to learn to walk again. That crash saw Billy have a major turning point in his life. The young, crazy, irresponsible Billy was killed in that crash and a wiser, more caring, more mature Billy was born. Musically the song sounds a lot like Chriss Issak’s song “Wicked Game”, not with the singing, but purely musically speaking. A twangy, cool vibe and throw on Billy’s more mature vocals and it is quite the killer track. A slower, more thoughtful and meaningful approach and one of the best tracks he might have ever done. It is also the song that gives the E.P. its name as he was saying they should’ve left him by the roadside of his accident.
Next up is “U Don’t Have To Kiss Me Like That”. The song is about the one that got away and when it finally comes around again, he is about to burst to get a taste of her. He is saying she doesn’t have to kiss like that meaning she doesn’t, but if she wanted to he would be very open to the passion and the sex. Yeah, this is purely about getting in her pants. He says he won’t bite, unless the time is right…this is pure Gene Simmons kind of stuff here. The song is upbeat with a dance groove and takes me back to an older, classic Billy sound. It is a fun romp and you will have a good time.
The final song is “Baby Put Your Clothes Back On” which is the complete opposite of the last song where he wanted to get her clothes off and do the nasty. This time around he wants to take it slow as he really likes her and can see this going somewhere so doesn’t want to rush in to it. Now, he could be persuaded by a drink or two, but really wanted to make it special. Definitely a nice change in lyrics from the last one. Musically, this has the twangy guitar again like “Bitter Taste” and a little of the same vibe, but does have a more upbeat chorus. It is a little somber and yet heartfelt as he wants to go slow with her as I said. There is a nice little guitar break but no real deep in depth solo. It is a sweet song, but the lesser of the bunch. It can’t match the brilliance of “Bitter Taste”.
Being an E.P. with only 4 songs, we won’t do a track score, but I wouldn’t drop any songs anyway. I really hate that it is an E.P. and only the four tracks, but they are all really great. Maybe “Baby Put Your Clothes Back On” is the weakest, but I still like it. “Bitter Taste” is the best song he has done in years, since “Save Me Now” on the last album at least and shows that Billy still has it in him to put out some hits. The E.P. is a more mature Billy and I think I really like where he is heading with his music. We can’t expect 80’s Billy and we shouldn’t want it. This is him growing as a singer and a writer and really stretching his talents and I am happy with that. I will give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars and I hope this is the beginning of maybe a few more E.P.’s. That would be awesome!!
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…
- Generation X – ‘Generation X’
- Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
- Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
- Gen X – “Dancing With Myself” 12″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’ (Bootleg)
- Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
- Billy Idol – Billy Idol
- Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
- Billy Idol – “Eyes Without A Face” – 12″ Picture Disc (Bonus Edition)
- Billy Idol – “Eyes Without A Face” – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
- Billy Idol – “Sweet Sixteen” – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- Billy Idol – To Be A Lover – Single Review
- Billy Idol – Vital Idol
- Billy Idol – “Hot In the City” – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- Billy Idol – Charmed Life
- Billy Idol – “Cradle of Love” – 7″ Single (Bonus Edition)
- Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
- Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
- Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
- Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
- Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
- Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
- Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
- Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
- Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
- Billy Idol – Revitalized
- Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
- Generation X – Generation X Deluxe Edition
- Billy Idol – Rebel Waltz: Live (Bootleg)
- Billy Idol – Rebel Calling: Live (Bootleg)
- Billy Idol – The Roadside E.P.
- Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First