BILLY IDOL - Kings & Queens Of The Underground (Review)

information persons: 
section name: 
Bitter Pill
Can't Break Me Down
One Breath Away
Postcards from the Past
Kings & Queens of the Underground
Produced By: 
Trevor Horn
Running Time: 
Release Date: 
Musical Style: 
Melodic Rock
BFI Records
Friday, December 12, 2014
There’s something very satisfying about a veteran artist that releases a new album and just nails it. The planets and stars have aligned for Billy Idol on the occasion of his 7th all-new studio album. Yes, just seven since his debut back in 1982, but on Kings And Queens Of The Underground, Billy takes fans back to the sound of Rebel Yell and Whiplash Smile with long time creative partner, guitarist Steve Stevens.
This is just such a refreshing album.
Looking back Billy’s best material was never about being heavy, it was more about the attitude and mixing technology with hard edged guitar driven rock n roll.
That’s exactly what he does perfectly here again. Some programming, drumbeats, synth and the ever present Stevens adding precision guitar riffs, shreds and fills throughout.
Choosing high-tech producer Trevor Horn was genius as he has helped Billy re-create his past without repeating himself or sounding dated.
I will say the album slows a bit in the second half and the inclusion of the throwaway punk rocker Whiskey And Pills to close the album is a waste, but otherwise this is pretty flawless.
Bitter Pill (co-written with Eric Bazilian) and the pop driven Can’t Break Me Down are two of Billy’s best tunes ever in my opinion, I simply can’t shake them from my head.
Save Me Now is another moody throwback to Whiplash Smile and One Breath Away is a modernized version of the classic Idol sound.
Postcards From The Past is 'Rebel Yell' for a new generation and the autobiographical Kings & Queens Of The Underground is a joy to listen to.
The trio of tracks Eyes Wide Shut, Ghosts In My Guitar and Nothing To Fear all slow the tempo of the album down and kills the energy a little, but the mood and delivery are still very appealing.
Love And Glory is another mid-paced track, but the chorus is the standout for the second half of the album, not to mention a great vocal from Billy.

This album is an absolutely great statement from Billy, who may never make another album like this again. But at least he has now and he and Stevens really capture the energy of the past while never once sounding like they are trying to produce a carbon copy.
Very satisfying for those Idol fans left sometimes frustrated by his releases.



I think Billy Idol fans will eat this up, and the casual listener will be okay with it.  Postcards From The Past is a real keeper.


I am only a casual Billy Idol fan, but I was really pleased when I heard this cd for the first time. There is no filler on this cd, I mean all of the songs are just so good. Steve Stevens on guitar just couldn't be any better! All of my friends have said that they really like this new cd. I think it might just be his best work.


Andrew's review is spot on, this is a classy record seeing Billy release some of his best material since his heyday.
Couple points off for that loss of energy Andrew mentions, a little too slow too often during the albums back end, but otherwise a win.  Highlights the excellent opener (given Billy was mostly pop in his day, actually not a fan of the OTT pop chorus of Can't Break Me Down) Postcards peaks and the title track is wonderful.
Billy releasing some of his best work in 2014 - Who woulda thought!? \m/

Wow,  where do I start.  First and foremost, I give this album a 100 out of 100.  Every song on the album is flawless.  When I heard my wife and kids singing a few of the songs under their breath while riding in the car, it validated my opinion of the LP.  Every song on the album is a true hit.  If this was 1985, Billy Idol would have a 10 million seller of a long player (LP).  The rockers and the ballads are all true hits.  The title cut, Kings and Queens of the Underground, is a true retrospection of Billy's journey in life.  Love and Glory sounds like a U2 song straight out of their glory days.  The first single off the record, Can't Break Me Down, is a great rocker that has all the elements of a hit.  One Breath Away has great pace and beat that gives it a great groove.  My personal favorite, Postcards From The Past, runs at a quick pace and utilizes both synthesizers and guitar to drive the song and is great rocker.  A true hit in a different era, but in this era nothing is a hit unless the person making the music has no talent. The last song, Whiskey and Pills, is a great punk rock type song that closes the album out in a perfect fashion. My personal favorites include, Postcards from the Past, Kings and Queens of the Underground, One Breath Away, Love and Glory, and Whiskey and Pills.