In 1990, more info Billy Idol was riding high off almost a decade of constant success, drugs thanks to MTV and radio’s constant pumping of “White Wedding”, “Dancing With Myself”, “Mony Mony”, “Rebel Yell”, “Eyes Without A Face” and “Cradle of Love”. In 1993, Idol squandered every drop of goodwill he ever squeezed out of the public with his ambitious, yet completely wrongheaded concept album “Cyberpunk”, a dreary half-thought-out affair that at half its length would’ve been a momentary misstep, but at 80 minutes in length, proved that Idol was capable of self-indulgent hackery the likes of which his teenage fans could never possibly cope with.

Think of how cheesy dystopian sci-fi films like “Strange Days”, “Prayer of the Rollerboys” or even the very recent box office disaster “Southland Tales” take moderately workable futuristic concepts and run them into the ground with threadbare thematic throughlines, bad jokes and even worse music. Now picture this same sentiment as an overblown album release competing in the marketplace against the tidal wave of grunge and all things “alternative”, and you have the career killer that is “Cyberpunk.”

Is it as impenetrable as the Godley & Creme triple-LP concept album “Consequences” (1977)? Not entirely. Is it good? Not hardly. Of interest is the leadoff track, the single “Shock To The System”, and the “Heroin” cover (which Allmusic has dubbed “one of the worst covers ever recorded”.)

It took Idol twelve years after the release of “Cyberpunk” to come out with another album, 2005′s “Devil’s Playground.” has anybody out there heard it? Is it as sing-alongy as any of the ’80s stuff?

Billy Idol – “Cyberpunk” LP (ZIP file)

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794 Responses to BILLY IDOL

  1. smoggo says:

    dear egg city radio,

    i love you, but please don’t post albums like this again. i remember when this came out. it was an embarassment. still is,,,,on a lighter note…did anyone see billy perform on VHS classic? just billy and a dude on acoustic. there was a moment when shirtless old billy stuck a drink napkin on his sweaty, leather torso and sneered. eck……


  2. c10 says:

    I missed out on “Cyberpunk” as it’s been to obviously over the top hunting for another audience but got “Devil’s Playground” when it came out due some youthful desire for “More, More, More”. Produced by Keith Forsey again (and Steve Stevens) it’s a pretty solid one but leans more towards Rock than Pop and can’t therefore be compared 1:1 to his amazing bubblegum pop rock output of the early ones. A return to form it is somehow and worth a listen.

  3. Jason says:

    I’m not sure what it means when you make this turn in your career, but it certainly must mean something.

    Great blog no matter what, though. Definitely one of my favorites out there.

  4. shocking joe says:

    Do not speak ill of ‘Strange Days.’ The opening sequence is a mini-masterpiece.

  5. Marshall says:

    I remember when this came out, and I knew that everything that was cyberpunk sci-fi was now officially over. With the abysmally bad single “Shock to the System” (because, really, who listened to the whole album?), Billy Idol put the nail in the cyberpunk coffin.

  6. Phill says:

    Hey! Consequences is pretty good.

  7. markus toivonen says:

    Excellent album, I don’t understand why someone don’t get it. You people fly too high, you can’t see the artistic vision.