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Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Nov 14th, 2014

Billy Idol: Kings & Queens Of the Underground

billy idolBilly Idol
Kings & Queens of the Underground
(BFI Records)

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Featuring a rolling tom and jangly guitar, the big commercial track “Bitter Pill” opens Billy Idol’s new and seventh album, Kings & Queens Of The Underground. From the outset here it is evident Billy is in as good a voice as he has ever been, growling around long-time partner Steve Stevens’ slight guitar slashes and the higher-end of his range during this song’s chorus. “Can’t Break Me Down” is a big, crowd-chanting rocker, with bass laying down the meat in the verses and in the popping high-end, in-your-face, super-commercial chorus.

It’s no surprise that “Postcards From the Past,” a guitar and synth-heavy, bleating mover works best for me, as it is a tune Idol and Stevens wrote together. It offers full musical nods back to Idol’s famous catalog with whole riffs and sonic motifs (even Idol’s vocals) deliberately hinting at some past hits of his. Stevens’ lead here is killer as well, maybe the best on the whole record.

Flute, acoustic guitar and Idol’s softer vocal attack tell the story of Idol’s career from punk to here on the title track. Lyrically, it might be a bit overdone, but overall it is a pretty solid, self-aware, big ballad. “Love And Glory” is a power ballad featuring a strong, controlled Idol vocal and lots of Stevens’ stuff with some U2-like dram,a single-note riffery during the lead. When the chorus kicks in, Idol lets loose with his best vocal here I feel. “Whisky And Pills” presents beating, fast bass, Stevens’ riffing and a wry lyrics to end this respectable 11-song set of new Billy Idol tunes.

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Billy Idol: Kings & Queens Of the Underground