Reviews: Billy Idol

Cyberpunk by flashsucks

Cyberpunk used to have a entry on the music page of so bad it's horrible, and after listening to this album, i'm puzzled as to why it had one in the first place. While it's no means a great album, its combination of electronica and glam rock is, in the very least, an admirable attempt.

The music itself is rough, lyrically underdeveloped and somewhat pretentious, but still enjoyable. "Neuromancer" starts with a sort of drum synth that doesn't really match up with the rest of the song, but the rock riff halfway through makes up for it, and lyrically it's one of Idol's stronger efforts. "Power Junkie" is kind of cheesy with it's random rock riffs and lyrically repetitive nature ["I'M A BAD MAN! I SHOOK UP THE WORLD!], but is ultimately decent. "Concrete Kingdom" suffers from the same sort of repetition as "Junkie", but its composition is solid and varied, as does "Wasteland". Ultimately it feels as Idol is trying to sell the songs on the strength of his writing ability, but it's the composition and melody which is really what entices the listener. The songs are energetic and perfectly danceable, but present Idol as overly Didactic. "Shock to the System" is arguably the best song on the album, and was included in his greatest hits album. It also happens to be done in his older, more popular style.

A problem with the album is the smothering amount of filler. This filler is meant to invoke a electronic revolution of some sort, but its randomness grates on the listener's patience. Of note is the beginning to "Adam In Chains", which is done in the manner of a 70s/80s relaxation tape, and is a puzzling inclusion [arguably a BLAM] as the song itself doesn't start until roughly 2 minutes in.

Along with his original songs, are 3 covers: "Mother Dawn", "Tomorrow People", and "Heroin". The first two are quite good, although the climax in "Mother Dawn", with Idol screaming about being bathed in a rainbow, is silly.

That being said, "Heroin" really is terrible. It's grating on the ears and doesn't fit at all with the concept of the album. The idea of turning a melancholy song like "Heroin" into a dance song is disrespectful.

Cyberpunk is odd, yet oddly charming. Idol's attempts to expand beyond his punk roots were good-natured, and despite what critics have to say, you'll probably enjoy it as much as i did.