Generation X

Perfect Hits 1975-1981

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A digital equivalent to The Best of Generation X, Perfect Hits is a good if not perfect overview of the band's shaky career, assembled by Tony James and Billy Idol. On the down side, there's plenty of room on the disc for even more numbers that would have put everything one could want in one place -- the lack of "Running with the Boss Sound" in particular is a loss. Other cuts like "Valley of the Dolls" and "Night of the Cadillacs" may not have been as essential, but still should have been considered for inclusion. That flaw aside, Perfect Hits is still arguably the best way to get into the band, and for the casual listener will be more than sufficient. The whole thing starts off on an incongruous note with "Dancing with Myself," which later became one of Idol's initial solo smashes. While it was indeed originally a Generation X track (and a fantastic one at that), the recording itself was actually more like a punk jam session, with Terry Chimes on drums and Steve Jones and John McGeoch on guitars, among others. After that, it's down to business with the original lineup, kicking through their playfully entertaining cartoon punk with all the panache Idol and company can muster. If anything, the obvious debt Generation X owe to Mott the Hoople comes through the most, sometimes brilliantly -- mysteriously left off the earlier best-of, "Kiss Me Deadly" is a fantastic ballad-rocker worthy of Ian Hunter's wry lyrical pen. Other rarer numbers that make the cut include the unexpected remix of "Wild Youth," "Wild Dub," a BBC session take on "Day by Day," and the amped-up cover of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth." Add to that such utterly necessary tracks as "Your Generation," "Ready, Steady, Go," and the tremendous "King Rocker," and the result is an almost spot-on treat.

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