Billy Idol

Billy Idol

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Billy Idol's self-titled debut album eventually broke the singer in America, but not without a struggle. In 1981, he left Generation X and launched his solo career, borrowing the group's final single, the dance-rock standard "Dancing with Myself," for his first solo release, a four-song EP called Don't Stop. Billy Idol was prefaced in June 1982 with the single "Hot in the City," which made the Hot 100, but the album was given a second breath of life (and a higher chart peak) a year after its release when its second single, "White Wedding," finally caught on after an eye-catching video played on MTV and made the Top 40 in July 1983. An attempt was then made to resurrect "Dancing With Myself," which was added to the album (the track "Congo Man" being deleted). Those three songs remain the album's strongest, if only because they are the best realized as songs; elsewhere, Idol and guitarist Steve Stevens have constructed a series of dance-rock tracks along the lines of "Dancing With Myself," mixing quick tempos with slashing guitar chords and occasional hook elements (a backup choral chant here, a saxophone part there), but seemingly have forgotten to write real songs to go on top of the tracks. The result is an uneven collection. Oddly, when Chrysalis came to reissue a 24-bit digitally remastered version of the album in 2002, the new producers did not take the opportunity to add on the other Don't Stop tracks and "Congo Man," the sort of bonus material you'd expect. Instead, the reissue presents only the ten tracks from the second version of the album, albeit with great sound. Scott Schindler's liner notes begin with a factual error (the album was not a "platinum success," it only went gold), but are otherwise adequate.

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