Thursday, October 06, 2022

Billy Idol Proves He Can Still Rebel Yell With New EP ‘The Cage’

Billy Idol is a British-American singer, who first emerged in the 1970s as the lead singer for London punk rock group Generation X.

He later embarked on a solo career which led to international recognition and made Idol a lead artist during the MTV coined "Second British Invasion" in the United States.

He released his debut self-titled album in 1982 and was a commercial success with hits like ‘White Wedding’ and ‘Rebel Yell’.

After his first two albums reached international success, Idol branched out into New Wave and Pop Rock genres in the ‘90s.

After nearly a decade break from his solo career, he returned in 2005 and has been making music and touring ever since.

His music has stayed in the center of pop culture with his tracks ‘Rebel Yell’ on national TV spots for T-Mobile, ‘Dancing with Myself’ on the prime-time NBC competition show of the same name, and collaborating with younger artists like Miley Cyrus bringing him to a whole new audience.

He’s still here, proving that he is a rock and roll star with the recent release of his new four song EP, titled The Cage. This new release is the upbeat partner to last year’s dystopian EP ‘The Roadside’, with a rush of energy that comes with the lifting of lockdown and the contributions of co-producer Tommy English. The new songs are stories from the singer’s past but in the reflective point of view from the present. He has successfully turned his own personal history into rock anthems.

The lead single and title track displays Idol embracing the punk rock sounds of today with this anthem of self-acceptance. The guitars on this tune are bursting with excitement and the vocals prove that the punk rocker still has that rebel yell (and growls). This opener really shows his ambition and joy to be out of lockdown and back on the road. Following with the whisper-to-a-scream epic ‘Running from the Ghost’, Idol shares about triumphing over his history of drug addiction. It’s emotional and honest in it’s lyrics, sharing it’s something he’ll never truly be over and he fights it everyday. His longtime bandmate, Steve Stevens perfectly compliments this emotional intensity shredding away on the guitar similar to an ‘80s anthem.

The blues-rock number ‘Rebel Like You’ is a tribute to his 2-year-old granddaughter, who recently dressed up like Idol circa ‘Dancing with Myself’ to see him at his Las Vegas residency. Knowing that, it is simply a wonderful love song full of witty references to himself. It also continues his self awareness, the chorus stating in more poetic wording that due to his past behaviors he never believed he’d have a granddaughter or even be around. It’s the type of song to rock out to and to say “awe” to. Closing with a spoken-word funk vibe that is ‘Miss Nobody’, where the singer embraces a feisty woman reminiscing over the good ol’ days.

All four of these tracks parallel the dark atmosphere that was heard on his previous EP ‘The Roadside’. They are exciting numbers about learning, redemption and growth. Seeing and hearing Billy Idol still be a dominating force in rock and roll is refreshing. He nods to his roots as an early punk rocker and embraces the new genres all at once. The ‘80s angst and spirit still lives in the melodies that are catchier than one would expect. Billy Idol has not let go of his leather persona, he’s only modified it and has left fans asking for “more more more”.

‘The Cage’ reaffirms Billy Idol as a classic rock star, allows him to embrace the new sounds of rock and introduce him to a new audience. The EP is full of positivity, energy and self awareness as it tells the story of a rock and roll lifestyle 40 years later. Fans will be left longing for a full length album from the singer, but seeing him on his upcoming tour will have to provide that fill.

Hope Orr


Image: ‘The Cage’ Official EP Cover

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