YMMV / Billy Idol

  • Awesome Music / Ear Worm - Pick up any of his compilations and take your pick. Billy was a hell of a singles' artist.
  • Covered Up - "Mony Mony," originally by Tommy James & The Shondells, from 1968.
    • "To Be a Lover," originally written as "I Forgot to Be Your Lover" by William Bell, also from 1968.
    • "L.A. Woman," originally by The Doors from their album L.A. Woman.
  • Cult Classic - Cyberpunk. It has a small fanbase, as well as an absurdly informative entry at That Other Wiki.
  • Dork Age: He went through one of these in the early '90s. Faced with waning popularity and flagging album sales, he attempted to reinvent his image (and cash in on the emergent hacker/cyberpunk subculture) in 1993 by replacing his bleached-blonde spiky haircut with bleached-blonde dreadlocks and releasing the album Cyberpunk, a fusion of glam rock and electronic dance music. With the exception of the single "Shock to the System" (which was closer in style to his earlier work), the album's songs consisted of overwrought synthesizer riffs, pretentious monologues, and lines lifted directly from William Gibson novels. The album flopped hard: critics universally panned it, Billy's old fans were left feeling betrayed, and real cyberpunks saw him as a hopeless poser. Even though the album has managed to acquire a cult following in the following years, it's still universally agreed that the cover of The Velvet Underground's "Heroin" that appeared on this album is the absolute worst version of the song ever recorded.
    • Idol himself still says he's proud of the album, but he got utterly devastated by the reception it got.
  • Epic Riff - The weirdly distorted riff from "Shock To The System."
    • "Rebel Yell" and "Dancing With Myself" also count.
  • Growing the Beard: The self-titled is a bit New Wave-y in spots. Basically, Rebel Yell is where Billy's solo career came into its own just because he concentrates on rocking a lot harder.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In 1985, Idol declined to record "Don't You Forget About Me" (which became the Simple Minds' Signature Song). 16 years later...
  • Internet Backdraft: A Ur-Example, believe it or not! Billy holds the distinction of being the first high-profile musician to promote his music online, back in 1993. A cool bit of trivia, and he'd be better remembered for this if said music wasn't Cyberpunk. Usenet groups back then turned on him, sending him a deluge of hate-mail for commercializing cyberpunk culture.
  • Narm Charm: Is Billy a bit over-the-top in his rawk vocals? Of course, but that's part of what makes his music so much fun.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Cyberpunk of course.
  • Vindicated by History: Cyberpunk received harsh criticism back in the day for it's massive change in direction, but nowadays it's looked back on a bit more fondly and considered one of Idol's more underrated albums.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Cyberpunk was actually the first album he had made sober since his Generation X days.


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