BILLY IDOL – Devil’s Playground


Sanctuary Records
Release Date: March 22, 2005

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Better the rebel you know, than the rebel you don’t know.

It has been twelve years since his last release, Cyberpunk, and twenty-five years since his commercial breakthrough Rebel Yell. Now the huge rock icon of the 80’s, Billy Idol, is back, a dozen demons later, with a story to tell.

It’s not a secret that serious drug abuse helped Billy Idol blow his career. Once in a while during the last few years, he’s been sticking his face out, e.g., as an actor (The Wedding Singer, 1998) or to participate on the making of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi’s first solo record (2000). Now he’s at last made a new studio album, and it sounds like he, to a large extent, is motivated to get some new attention.

Billy has once again teamed up with Steve Stevens on guitar, which sounds like a perfect decision. Steve Stevens sparkles on this album! He has been busy with a lot of different recordings over the past years, but on Devil’s Playground it sounds like Stevens hasn’t had a chance to prove his guitar skills for a decade. Great!

As usual, Billy Idol is no stranger to variations. On Devil’s Playground you’ll find more than the expected Punk, Rock and Punk Rock. This time around he has as well visited more mellow and laid back material than usual, and even the Country genre has not been left untouched (“Lady Do Or Die”). After all, Idol has grown older since the 80’s, and it sounds like he by now wants to explore a few more aspects of his songwriting capabilities.

On one hand, tracks like “Rat Race,” “Plastic Jesus,” “Evil Eye,” and “Cherie” are totally anonymous numbers music wise, but on the other hand they are obvious important to Idol to get his full story told lyrically. It even takes a Christmas song ( Gee, in April no less!), “Yellin’ At The Christmas Three,” to orbit the full tale?

The close to fifty year-old Billy Idol’s voice may not be at the very top of his prior capabilities, but the intensity and honesty of the album should leave no doubt; Billy Idol is a survivor. Devil’s Playground is not Idol at his best, but it is a very decent comeback album! Actually it sounds more like a teaser … a warm up. Somehow, after listening to this album, it feels natural to look forward to Billy Idol’s NEXT release!

Highlights: “Super Overdrive,” “World Comin’ Down,” “Sherri,” “Scream,” and “Body Snatcher.” All killers. They all make it worth buying the album. Yes, Billy’s back!


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