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CD Reviews: Review of Devil's Playground by Billy Idol
Red Rocker Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Billy Idol: Devil's Playground (2005)

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When Billy Idol and longtime guitar cohort Steve Stevens hooked back up a few years ago for their VH-1 Storytellers segment and resulting CD, the groundwork of possibilities was laid. Devil’s Playground is the record any steadfast fan had hoped would follow. This is wide opened, in-your-face throwback punk rock, the likes of which Green Day and Blink 182 owe a huge debt. Overrun with welcomed and familiar riffs, Billy Idol version 2005 is bound to mug every sense and gratify that recurring urge to stand in front of a bathroom mirror, fist clenched in front of your face, snarling with a curled lip and singing “Hey, little sister, what have you done” into a hairbrush.

“In the devil’s playground with an Idol mind, straight up, ready to go and now’s the time,” the original Generation X and MTV icon growls to drop the curtain on “Super Overdrive,” this mission’s opener. With Stevens’ squealing signature riff as a reliable companion, Idol sets off down a recognizable path of high-energy sonic rock that would have been so widely accepted in 1985. “World Comin’ Down” is stunning, a full throttle masterpiece that sounds like vintage Gen X, ala “Ready Steady Go” (what a refreshing alternative to today’s popular mope rock from the throng of Linkin Park wannabes).

The first single, if such a thing still exists in this genre, is “Scream.” Opening with a Soundgarden vengeance, Idol and Stevens really lay the wood on this one, supplying a bridge that harkens back to “White Wedding.” Even the prettier moments on this Playground aren’t overly supple. “Cherie” is a frivolous sing-a-long, recalling early Neil Diamond, while “Lady Do or Die” finds an unexpected trial in honky-tonk.

In a way, this new Idol exertion reminds me of Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising. With such a well-marked career on the books and a legacy that would appear unshakeable, he overachieved at a point where most might guess he wouldn’t. For every two Van Halen reunions that shouldn’t have, if we can muster one of these great reincarnations then the world will be a better place…at least for the 35-year-old “Cheers” generation who just can’t pitch that ¾ length Def Leppard concert tee two decades later. 

~Red Rocker 




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