Billy Idol - Kings and Queens of the Underground
Billy Idol seems to be enjoying a revival, especially in his live shows. I personally think this album is the best he has had since Rebel Yell. It has edge tempered with a lifetime's accumulated knowledge. I hear a man that is feeling good about where he is along his timeline. In advance of his biography being released, the song Kings and Queens of the Underground serves as a synopsis of what will may come out in the book. It is a moving track and even though it is written in a very personal way I found myself connecting with it vicariously.
The album is terrific as a whole, but each track stands alone as well. I could see most every track making it as a single, just some a bit stronger than others. I am very thankful I decided to get the vinyl, even though I bought the CD originally, because the vinyl just sounds better to me. I don't always buy in to the sound of vinyl being inherently richer, but in this case I do. I replaced my digital copies ripped from CD with ones ripped from the vinyl because of the improvement in sound.
A1 Bitter Pill
A2 Can't Break Me Down
A3 Save Me Now
A4 One Breath Away
B1 Postcards From The Past
B2 Kings & Queens Of The Underground
B3 Eyes Wide Shut
B4 Ghosts In My Guitar
C1 Nothing To Fear
C2 Love And Glory
C3 Whiskey And Pills
For me this album has a sense of freedom. There is a feeling of liberation from the past even as you embrace that is how you got to today. The looking back is for acceptance and letting go and moving on. The future is before us and all has all possible potential. Musically it is strong and full of hooks and anthem worthy lyrics. Fist pumping and head banging are welcome but optional.
I was going to mark my favorite tracks but found I was marking all but about four tracks and then felt they were being short changed and wanted to mark them too. Can't Break Me Down is such a motivator, Save Me Now make me want to shout, Ghosts in My Guitar is poignant but not overly sentimental. Postcards from the Past is a driving rocker. Idol's voice is as alluring and seductive as every. I just can't find a flaw in this record. I'm on the third listen while writing this review, about the 30th time I have listened to the album since purchase, and I am not wearying of it yet.
The D side etching is cool. The gatefold cover is slick and cosmopolitan. The closest thing to a flaw is that the records are in plain sleeves and the lyric insert is only printed on one side in small font.