Billy Idol/Rebel Yell

Billy Idol, born in 1965, is an English musician that has enjoyed a long and storied career. A onetime member of Siouxsie And The Banshees, Idol met musician Tony James in the late 70’s and formed the seminal punk band Generation X  [James later went on to play guitar in super-huge English synth band Sigue Sigue Sputnik]. Idol left Gen-X for a solo career in late ’79/early ’80. Idol has enjoyed, throughout his career super-highs and super-lows. Thanks to the burgeoning video age, Idol became a superstar until personal problems and crisis sidelined his music and blossoming movie career.  Idol has continued to record and tour with longtime guitarist Steve Stevens. A two-time Grammy Nominee, Idol has released 7 studio compositions. Rebel Yell was his third studio release.

Rebel Yell—-Embracing a punk mentality and an 80’s attitude, Idol jumped on the video bandwagon with a look that screamed for attention. At once rocking and different from all of the keyboard manufactured songs of the time, Idol rode this surfboard to super stardom. He capitalized on his looks and ability to come across well on a TV screen and made millions of dollars and fans in the process. One cannot listen to this song and not realize the incredible talent of Stevens on guitar…the effects and the way he uses them were way before their time.

Daytime Drama—-With an odd guitar effect that screamed 1983, the song begins. Idol waits and waits to com in, but the vocal is sublime. A cross between vintage Elvis and a desire to sound like Jim Morrison, Idol sets the tone for his career. The music is vintage 80’s in stylings, but Idol is clearly the star here.

Eyes Without A Face—–Perhaps Idol’s biggest triumph next to White Wedding, this song was played over and over again on my record player. MTV made a huge hit of this song, but the composition stands on it’s own without visualization. A triumphant mix of electric and synth, the song is a musical masterpiece. Idol delivers a vocal that is at once tender and angry, serene and pissed off. A song that takes you on a journey like this is a CLASSIC. The female backing vocal and the subtle vocal echos just scream of perfect production.

Blue Highway—-A pure macho driven soundtrack of 80’s indulgence. The adrenaline and testosterone made Idol a hero of mine as I was fighting for my own identity. I loved him and detested him because of it. This song remains one my favorites just for the undeniable masculine feel of it. Great!!!

Flesh For Fantasy—-One of the sexiest songs of the 80’s, the remix to this song is classic [See Vital Idol]. The song has a deep sex to it that draws you in. The delivery is a slight mix of dance and blues that drives you to move your hips. The lyrics drip of erotica and the mood is all over the song. Super hot!!

Catch My Fall—-With an undeniable 80’s cliche’ sound, the song does not disappoint in any way. Idol delivers a vocal that matches the swagger of Stevens guitar to a masterful result. I love how Idol can switch between an almost spoken word delivery to an outright song in an instant. The musical landscape helps drive the song despite the slower pace of the vocal. Nice!!!

Crank Call—-Heavier on the guitar side, the vocal has a sneer that is undeniable Idol. The sound track of the piece  is a bluesy guitar sound that Idol matches his vocal to almost perfectly. Remember the glory days when you could actually make crank calls? LMAO!

[Do Not] Stand In The Shadows—-Beginning in a pleasant way, the song offers up some guitars that are so poorly produced and pushed to the back of the mix that it is disturbing. I prefer the mix to be louder and more crisp. This is weak and almost anemic. What happened guys!

The Dead Next Door—-A masterpiece of a song. Idol delivers a vocal that is so cold and haunting, that you will return to this song over and over again. The music haunts you just as much as the vocal does and the song keeps up the morose feeling the entire way through. This is classic and masterful….I could slow dance to this song with a ‘paste-face’ anywhere just as well as slam to the Misfits. Idol maintains that appeal…..this is fantastic!

**** out of 5


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