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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

THE NEW BILLY IDOL ALBUM

Susan Sontag told us all we need to know about camp, and then we got to hear about it again, this time called the post-modern, and since then, with the digital mash-up world of timeless everything under the sun, it's become the "so bad it's good" meme. Well, regardless of Adorno, I love the new Billy Idol album, just out.

The thrill of nostalgia and horrified joy I feel at discovering the songs here are expertly tooled trash, no worse than his mastersong 'Flesh for Fantasy' - equally OTT, performative, queerly wild, uber-flamboyant rock-punk nonsense - can only be tempered by recognition that this is immaturity talking, this is a 48-year-old pudgy uni lecturer talking, a privileged white boy-man wanting to escape from the Ebola-ISIS-UKIP shitstorm raging in reality. And, that his voice is broken on so many late nights in rememberhimville, he might be 80, not from the 80s.  So what? He admits he was a druggie and preposterous.

There are so many pop-rock hits here it's as if Iggy Pop and Gary Numan had all agreed to work with Jon Bon Jovi, Jim Kerr and Trevor Horn to tool a rock-synth album of sheer swaggerring cheese.

Yes, when he says he needs you to save him now, when he complains of priests, and the law, mentions shooting up in bathrooms, says he was on MTV baby high as the moon, and shrieks like it is yet another good day for a white wedding, I can only assent. Is it bad? Maybe. Is it state of the art outrageous catchy 80s-era Billy Idol camp? Yes.  So, that wins for me. He is still around, still a king and queen of the underground. It is sort of touching. I dig your rebel sounds, Billy.
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