The Devil made me do it
From page 81 of Classic Rock Magazine April 2005
Twenty years on from White Wedding, Billy Idol teams up with Steve Stevens again and regains his rebel yell.
BILLY IDOL Devil’s Playground
Somehow, the word ‘comeback’ seems inadequate, misleading, insulting. From the swashbuckling rock’n’roll charge of the opening Super Overdrive to the final, poignant strains of Summer Running, this release is more than anything a grand renaissance.
Idol hadn’t released a new album for nearly 12 years. Now he’s reclaiming his
kingdom in flamboyant style.
There’s a huge energy, a real sense of purpose about the songs and the band – which finds Billy reunited with his old conspirator from his Rebel Yell/ White Wedding days, ace guitarist Steve Stevens, and producer Keith Forsey.
This record is a guided tour of Idol’s past life in the Devil’s Playground, the good times and the bloody awful ones, although he reserves the right to employ poetic licence and there’s often a contagious humour at play.
Thus the heroin nightmares recalled in the darkly oppressive Body Snatcher and Evil Eye are countered by the affectionate and tuneful nostalgia of Cherie, the fanciful Romeo’s Waiting, and the bare-faced cheek of Yellin’ At The Christmas Tree complete with bells, balls and copious shots of Jack.
Given the autobiographical nature of the album, it’s appropriate that Idol also honours a lifetime of musical influences stretching from cowboy C&W (Lady Do Or Die) to pile-driving punk (World Comin’ Down), while electric, acoustic and orchestral dynamics engage dramatically with pop, rock and balladry. Scream is a heavy-metal wet dream, dripping with all of Zeppelin’s old juice and lemons, all night long. And it’s the lead-off single.
Billy is back, and he wants you.
■■■■■■■■ ■■ Carol Clerk