First Published: 17 Dec 2014 – Classic Rock Radio (UK)
Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews
Spotlight: Billy Idol – Kings & Queens Of The Underground (2014)
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
How refreshing it is when an established musician comes out with something fresh and exciting? So good it makes you remember why you originally became a fan, to begin with. Such is the case with Billy Idol’s latest studio offering called Billy Idol – Kings & Queens Of The Underground. His personality is unique, and Billy possesses a voice that captures one’s attention. I have one of Billy’s Greatest Hits CDs in my collection. I always dug the hits, but for whatever reason just never spent the time learning his whole catalog. Something that I’m motivated to do after hearing this latest one.
My personal friends have heard me talk of “perfect albums” before in various conversations. Taste varies. Definition for myself is that I get into every song, where an album’s third track is just as good as its last. Not the same as one’s favorite album. In your mind, obviously, it has left an impression. Not a wasted note, not too long to bore and take away from what’s good nor too short so that it’s not an album anymore. That the lyrics be matched with the right music and band where everyone gave their all and devoted all they had. Believed in what they were doing. Wait….too deep. Think I made my point. Every song here is worth playing, totaling almost 48 minutes worth of stellar performances, not only from Mr. Idol but from all those around him involved in this project as well.
So speaking of, who knew in the year 2014, we’d get a Buggles reunion? The duo whose song ‘Video Kill The Radio Star’ helped launch a network. Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes are all over this album. Both behind the scenes and in the studio, performing the music. Mr. Horn is a solid bass player, and Mr. Downes plays keyboards for both prog-rock bands Yes and Asia. And that’s not everything. These guys are superstars, believe me. Steve Stevens is on guitar. Ash Soan (Producers) behind the drum kit on every number except for on a tune called ‘Save Me Now’. A guy I saw play drums for Tori Amos over a decade ago, Mr. Matt Chamberlin.
I purchased Billy’s King & Queens Of The Underground CD the first few days it was out. If you support an artist, try buying their new shit the first week it’s released. Big sales numbers make headlines and sway not only opinion but also careers. Honestly, it’s been a while since the public had some new Billy Idol music. In today’s market, if you’re already established professionally and you don’t have something fresh, you’re labeled a greatest hits act. Just riding on your laurels milking it for all you can. If not independently wealthy, and doing it just to get out of the castle.
Billy Idol – King & Queens Of The Underground (2014) – Uncle G’s Review & Rating
I love when I TOTALLY fall into a new CD. Repeated plays EVERYDAY for DAYS in a ROW. Am not sure if I started memorizing the music first, or the lyrics? Forty-Eight minutes long, and no filler, no place. Keep in mind, I was a fan of Billy beforehand. Not a fanatic, but I was already sold. Seriously…who the fuck doesn’t already like Billy’s cover of ‘Mony Mony’ (Tommy James & The Shondells)?
Nice start! The first track called ‘Bitter Pill’, has Billy coming in, and almost immediately you hear the word “Go!” Like he just rode in on a motorcycle, got off the bike, and just walked up to a microphone, all done in precise time. A toe-tapping number with semi-autobiographical words, as is the lyrics to the whole recording really. A recurring theme. Now a mature man with experiences worth recalling. The voice is stronger. He believes what he hears, and the results clearly show it. Songs either produced by Trevor Horn or Greg Kurstin. Imagine being another producer on the same project as Trevor Horn? No pressure I’m sure.
Solid songwriting throughout Kings & Queens Of The Underground. Proof’s in the cuts. The musicianship is solid. More upbeat, which I dig the most. I already know that when I’m finished with this review, and I’m off writing another one about something else (cool B movie), that this compact disc will STAY near my home stereo. Absolutely perfect!
Uncle G’s Favorite Moments
The first song I pushed the repeat button on when giving this a first listen was found on track four ‘One Breath Away’ . Musicianship blows me away! Kind of groovy at first, and then look out…holy shit! Hear for yourself. Right at the 2:19 mark. Play this loud and you’ll be capable of blowing out your speakers, and just not caring. Lasts under a minute and Billy comes back in. Classic Idol!
Something about the word “go”. The last track on Kings & Queens Of The Underground is actually one of the best get-up and go songs that I heard in a while. Rocks like crazy. The bassline is infectious! Billy sings about what he knows. I did my teen years mostly on the streets, in the 1970s on the Jersey Shore. I can identify.
Uncle G’s Rating
Using the one to five-star rating system, whereas one star means it sucks through a long straw, to five stars meaning it’s a new musical masterpiece, I give the new Billy Idol studio album Kings & Queens Of The Underground…5 stars! I am already certain this will be on my upcoming Best Of ’14 – Top Ten List. Stay Tuned!
Bonus Official Video – Save Me Now
End of Story
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