Sunday, March 26, 2017

Billy Idol - Whiplash Smile - 1985

So, I'm in a quandary on how to describe this one.  Is this the last of his good albums?  Or is this the first of his bad albums?  I will say this, it was a pivotal album in his career, and once this one was released, it was all downhill.

By the time this came out, the mainstream Pop radio record labels were trying to capture what they considered "New Wave" and putting a more radio friendly twist on it.  All while sacrificing the true intent and meaning behind it.  Imagine, only 6 or 7 years before this album, Billy was a true punk in Generation X, making some great stuff.   Then....

I think we all remember when this one came out, or at least when we started hearing it on the radio.  Regardless of what I said in the above two paragraphs, I was only 14 and it was still Billy Idol to me.  He had the killer attitude with the pretty boy looks.  Being a young shy geek with pimples and a big nose, I was very jealous of him.  The best I could do was emulate the fine lad.  As well, this was the time when my parents took my "secular" music away, so all I had was a dubbed tape from a friend.  I was still always very impressed with him, even through his next release in 1990.  I think the cyberpunk album is where he completely lost it...

But, now, I think the fanbase and respect is still out there.  I mean, it's fucking Billy Idol.  I'd be happy to meet the guy or see a show.  I guess the best I can do now, is wear an Idol t-shirt.  Good enough for me.

As always, I've got it all on this one...


  1. Bit of a guilty pleasure this one!

  2. "Don't Need A Gun" is in my top ten list of the best songs ever. And though it's overly produced by Keith Forsey, it's still a good album. Thanks for this one, mate.

  3. Oooh.... how badly I was into Mr. Idol back in the day. In '82 I purchased his solo debut on cassette and wore that thing to bloody death. Catching him in a small venue just prior to REBEL YELL coming out was as close to religion as I've come (no offense to anyone, but when you're 13 and the power of rock lifts you inches above the ground in person for the first time, you get a bit devoted). Hearing those Generation X songs performed live was truly a reverent moment for young Grebo.
    By the time WHIPLASH SMILE *finally* limped out of the gate in '87, we faithful had been waiting for over three LONG years for the follow-up to the wonderful (but easily-digestible) REBEL YELL. And while there are amazing moments of IDOL-ish rawwwwwk (ie. the kick-off "World's Forgotten Boy", the decent "Man For All Seasons" and the classic "Don't Need A Gun"), much of the album felt like droppings that had been highly polished (and then polished again). Then spray-painted.
    "Beyond Belief" still manages to stir me every time, so lovely and delicate. The tour for that album was a crazy joke; THE CULT opened (circa ELECTRIC) and basically blew Idol out of the water with a set that literally left the stage in shambles by the time they left (drum-kit bits EVERYWHERE) while Ashbury sneered "Coming up next, something better... or not...." while he dropped the mic.
    And Billy, bless, well he was knee-deep in addiction at the time and the show was a blurry mess. For me, his music never got better. I greatly disliked the Fatal Charm-era, and only recently dipped my timid toes into his last album out of curiosity (a few good tracks, almost wish I'd taken the chance and checked out the tour for old time's sake).
    Somewhere in the wardrobe, there's a beaten old 1982 concert shirt I want to be buried in.

  4. Here's an upgrade...
    1986 - Whiplash Smile [Remastered 2013]

  5. I was so burned out on Billy Idol after the Rebel Yell period--he was just always on MTV, always, him and Huey Lewis (labelmates...hmmm?). So I was surprised at how much I liked To Be a Lover when it came out. I may have even bought the 45.

    1. People will never get it they can't see it. ..I love you for free...