album review | ROCK

Billy Idol, ‘Kings & Queens of the Underground’

Remember when a sneering, spiky-haired Billy Idol was all the rage, throwing a fingerless glove-clad fist in the air with a rebel yell? Idol does, and on his first album in nearly a decade, “Kings & Queens of the Underground,” he wants to reminisce. (Presumably he plows similar ground in his new memoir, naturally titled “Dancing With Myself.”) The 11-track collection looks back through the mist of the “Eyes Without a Face” video to reflect on when Idol was the toast of MTV, the good times, bad times, and self-medication. There are perfectly acceptable, arena rock-style tracks, a groovy electro-rocker, and one sneering, punkish jam. Many songs traffic in nostalgia, including the “Rebel Yell”-ish “Postcards of the Past.” The title track is the oddest. It’s as if Idol stumbled into a Renaissance Faire, answered someone’s questions about his old hits, then decided to record it, surveying his lazy, crazy, drug-hazy Sunset Strip days to the accompaniment of flutes and lutes. (Out now)


Essential“One Breath Away”

Billy Idol plays the Orpheum Theatre Jan. 31.

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