Billy Idol Devil's Playground Sanctuary Records
· Produced By: Keith Forsey

· Running Time: 54.25

· Release Date: March 22

· Released: US

· Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock

· Links: Billy Idol
Songs: 85%
Sound: 90%
Billy Idol has never been far removed from the news, so it's hard to believe it's actually been 10 years since his last studio album.
Sure, there have been the compilations and the odd single, but it really has been that long! And being that his last couple of studio albums were poorly received, it's nearly 20 years since his last great release - Whiplash Smile.
Devil's Playground sees Billy Idol return to being…well, Billy Idol. Long time collaborator Steve Stevens is back and he really delivers the goods with a mix of furious riffing and composed soloing – both in the electric and acoustic department.
Producer Keith Forsey also returns – he was at the helm of Billy's biggest albums Rebel Yell and Whiplash Smile. His knowledge of working with Billy and Steve helps create a return to that classic sound.
This album sees Billy paying tribute to himself, with a mixture of textures from across his diverse career, but a definite emphasis on his classic sound from the late 80's.
Generally speaking, this is a very catchy record and one which I think will please a majority of fans. It isn't an absolute classic, but by sticking to what he knows best, he manages to deliver a very enjoyable record that avoids the unnecessary experimentation of his last album or two.
This is one for patient Idol fans to enjoy. Billy does a career wrap here, covering the pop/punk of his earliest days, the shredding melodic hard rock of his biggest hits, smoldering acoustic tinged rock with a modern edge and thankfully only one experimental track (Summer Running) which would have fit on the very ordinary Cyberpunk album.
All this music is wrapped up in some tongue in cheek lyrics and oozes that feel good vibe.
As stated, there is a little bit of everything here. The more I listen to it (at great volume), the better it gets.
The very catchy World Coming Down and Sherri are a great listen, touching on his anthemic pop/punk roots; Rat Race is a darker and updated take on Flesh For Fantasy; Scream is Billy's Rebel Yell 2005 as Lady Do Or Die is his Sweet Sixteen 2005; and the acoustic driven Plastic Jesus and the darker Romeo's Waiting have a very contemporary style and have every chance at radio success.
Body Snatcher and Evil Eye miss the mark a little bit – trying too hard to adapt to the modern rock format. Far better examples come when Billy sounds more natural.
Yellin' At The Xmas Tree is one track a little hard to pigeon hole. A terrific track with a great hook and laughable lyrics, it's inclusion is a little puzzling seeing the album's release is some 9 months from more seasonably appropriate timing! Still, it's all good fun and could feature as a surprise hit later in the year.
Guitarist Steve Steven's role in making this album should not be under-valued. He is the thread that keeps it all together and his guitar tricks are simply some of the very best by anyone anywhere. Just take in the furious riffing of World Comin' Down. The man is a master of all styles and should receive far more attention! Drummer Brian Tichy also delievrs a powerful performance, with strong contributions in the songwriting dept also.
The Bottom Line
The album loses pace over the last 5 tracks, which takes away from the overall strength of the first 8 tracks, which sees Billy at his almost-best. Had the album remained as strong across all tracks, the rating would have been higher. The majority of songs – despite style variations – are very consistent and thoroughly enjoyable and feature some catchy hooks and choruses. All in all, this is a very credible comeback and sets Billy up to run with some momentum and recapture his crown as the bad boy of rock n roll.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Billy Idol
· Rebel Yell
· Whiplash Smile
· Charmed Life
· Cyberpunk
· Devil's Playground

Line Up
· Billy Idol: Vocals
· Steve Stevens: Guitar
· Brian Ticky: Drums
· Stephen McGrath: Bass

Essential for fans of:
· Billy Idol - Whiplash Smile & Rebel Yell
· Steve Stevens
Track Listing
· Super Overdrive*
· World Comin' Down*
· Rat Race*
· Sherri*
· Plastic Jesus
· Scream*
· Yellin' At The Christmas Tree
· Romeo's Waiting*
· Body Snatcher
· Evil Eye
· Lady Do Or Die
· Cherie
· Summer Running
--*Best Tracks

04/07/06: Patricia -
Rating: 0
Billy never sounded better and he looks better than ever!!!! Every song is great! Should have been major radio play, but with the payoffs and politics in the US, it is a nuissance!!! DP blows away half of the popcorn crap on the radio! Advise to get and to try and see him live, you would be amazed and will be in for some ride. UNBELIEVABLE! What a treat!

01/09/05: Ro -
Rating: 95
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens are back ! Great CD ! Billy's music is timeless and he is one of a few artists that can stick to his sound every time and still blend with the sound of the day. Pick this CD up and you won't be disappointed.

25/04/05: John Elway -
Rating: 83
This is a solid release, but not a classic. There are certainly some great tunes here ("Scream" and "Romeo's Waiting" are awesome.), but there are a few things missing to make this a classic. For starters there are too many slower tunes on here. Secondly, the incredible Steve Stevens is held largely under wraps; rarely does he shred like he did back in the day. Also, what's with a Christmas song in April?...wierd. With all that said, this is quite good with just enough classic Billy to make it worth picking up.

16/04/05: Adam -
Rating: 90
This CD ROCKS!!! A very impressive return for Billy and Steve!
Stand out tracks in my opinion are.....

This CD has all the great elements of Billy Idol's career on one CD. Generation X sounding stuff, REBEL YELL sounding stuff, WHIPLASH SMILE sounding stuff and even CHARMED LIFE sounding stuff. This is just a GREAT CD overall, every review picks different songs, everybody walks away from this CD loving at least 5 or 6 songs alot!! Overall it is a winner that you should buy!!!!

11/04/05: Wisey -
Rating: 85
What a welcome return to "real" rock this album is, and who better to deliver it than the master of hard rockin', lip curlin', fist pumpin' ass-kickin' rock himself, Billy Idol?!
This album is a real breath of fresh air to those of us who are constantly annoyed by the rubbish claimed to be "rock" which is forced upon us via radio and TV these days.

On "Devil's Playground" the dynamic duo to rival Batman & Robin; Billy Idol & Steve Stevens remind everyone how real rock sounds. Some may claim it's old school, buy hey, yes it is and we love it (...and we want more please!)

Sounding nothing like his last studio album "Cyberpunk",
"Devil's Playground" is Billy Idol of old. Perhaps the reason for this is the return of guitar legend Steve Stevens, or perhaps it's just that Billy's had ten years between drinks during which time he's also become annoyed at the crap that constatly gets passed off as "rock" music & wants to show everyone how it's done. Whatever the case, this is an album that Idol fans will love.

The songs vary in style; some such as "Scream" are pure rockers in the vein of "Rebel Yell" or "Speed", some are more acoustic ("Lady Do Or Die", "Cherie", "Summer Running") and some have Billy's punk roots shining through ("Superoverdrive" & "World Comin' Down"). There is also the little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor in "Plastic Jesus" and "Yellin' At The Christmas Tree".

The pace from the start is frenetic, but drops off towards the end of the album as we get to the more acoustic tracks. This is not a criticism though as maintaining such a blast for the whole album would have been too much. The tracks on the album are well placed, and as you would expect the production is top notch.

Whilst there are no absolute classics such as "White Wedding" or "Flesh For Fantasy" to speak of (hence not a higher rating), the album rocks none the less. My favorites are:
Superoverdrive, Rat Race, Sherri, Scream, Romeo's Waiting, Lady Do Or Die, Cherie. The songs are not complex, just straight out rock which I find is perfect for driving to. Idol fans should love it!

08/04/05: Daymond -
Rating: 90
I popped in this cd and immediately went to the song "Scream" as it was the track I was most familiar with. By the time I got to Steve's solo I was curling my lip and pumping my fist just like Billy...This is why I bought the album, and I wasn't disappointed. "Plastic Jesus" and "Yellin' at the Christmas Tree" are just hilarious lyrically and it's great to hear both Billy and Steve together again. This is probably the best record they could've recorded given the fact it isn't 1986 anymore...What more can you ask for?

04/04/05: Stuart -
Rating: 95
I have to say this for me is the album of the year by a mile.
The last classic Billy album was Rebel Yell.
This is very much in that style.
Classic Rockers but great melodies.
Stand out tracks are
The first single is also a corker but by no means is it the best cut on the cd.
If i had to choose 1 track i would leave off' its the track WORLD COMING DOWN.
The 2 extra tracks i got to download because i got it from TARGET are corking tracks and also could and should have been left on the cd.
On World Coming Down this is the only time he doesnt sound like himself.
He is trying too hard on this one to sound like bands of today.
Yet he really doesnt need to do that because those bands dont half even a 1/4 of his talent or track record.
I was expecting a 80s artist trying to recapture his talent and failing.
What i got was a cd full of great songs with great hooks,and i have to say Billy and his voice sound incredible.
Im stunned how good this cd is.
For the people that didnt like this,listen again.
Andrew you got it right but in my opinion you should have gone into the 90+

29/03/05: :RS: -
Rating: 85
On first listen, I wasn't too impressed since there aren't as many catchy melodies here as on Billy's earlier efforts. I also missed some of Steve Steven's jazz influences in the soloing (think "Man For All Seasons"). However, repeated listens were much more rewarding. This is a really aggressive album with the softer songs concentrated near the end. Stevens doesn't have a lot of great solos, but his rhythm playing is spot on and has never sounded better. In some ways, this feels like a continuation of the first album without the more complex asides done on "Rebel Yell" or "Whiplash Smile." A few points off for not recording "In the Killbox" or "Stranger In My Skin" which would have beat some of the lesser songs here.

25/03/05: stefhan Kuster -
Rating: 90
A great album. Billy is back.A great album thanks to Steve Stevens He's a good guitar player, just what Billy needs

23/03/05: Olivier -
Rating: 90
For me one of the best Billy Idol Album. billy sounds incredibly modern an still sticks too his rock'roll roots. You fellows who critisise him are a bunch of f*****n loosers. Come on guy we ain't in 1986 anymore.


21/03/05: Figge -
Rating: 85
Oh! This is a tough one to review. I'm a huge Billy Idol least up to his 1986 release Whiplash Smile. Of course Steve Stevens had a huge part in the success back then, and I hoped it would be something really extraordinary this time with him back at Billy's side. Sorry to say though, this is a hit and miss afair. I simply love some tracks...and can't stand some of 'em. The standout tracks (like Scream, Rat Race, Romeo's Waiting, Body Snatchers....) are fantastic slices of music, while some others are just forgettable, silly or plain stupid (like Lady Do Or Die, Yellin' At The Christmas Tree, Plastic Jesus...).
Here and there Steve Stevens shines through and reminds me of the good old masterplaying he used to deliver, but not often enough in my opinion.

I expected more from this release (after 12 years since last the album) and whilst being a little disappointed I still love half of the album. It could have been a masterpiece but sadly it isn't....maybe if it included "Speed" and "Buried Alive" and a few other great tracks instead of some low points?!

19/03/05: Chewsmoka -
Rating: 60
I love Billy Idol, always have, but for a comeback album this is not it. Andrew missed the mark by a mile, giving it 87%, while it is not terrible, This is Bill Idol without the hooks.Sure, it may catch on to others, but no memorable songs, so great Steve Stevens solos, While it all boils down to your opinion, every song sounds like Billy is giving it only halfway.I would hope this would not be the last he would release, but I honestly do not see this being a big hit of any kind. Billy, where is the growl? Steve, where is the shredding? Is it a case of age? Billy still looks like he did in the 80's! But maybe the train has already left the station, and they just don't know it. 60 is just for effort, not for the songs

19/03/05: Freddy De Keyzer -
Rating: 40
Typical Billy Idol ! Way too experimental and modern for my liking, but Stevens is a guitarwizard !

19/03/05: Terry -
Rating: 93
I have had this disc for quite a well now and it is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites. Billy has dropped the snarly english punk attitude and just sings his butt off on every track. Steve Stevens lays to waste all pretenders on lead guitar and the disc is nicely balanced throughout. The disc starts off strong and doesn't really let up until about the last two tracks and those well softer in style are nicely done. Some of the lyrics and the xmas song are a little goofy but nothing to bad. It really sounds like Billy and Steve are having a good time and certainly not going through the motions like on his last couple of dics. No it isn't a perfect disc but then what discs are. About the best praise i can give it is that after downloaded it on the web for a $1 i am going to go to store when it is released and buy it, its that good folks.

18/03/05: WardyS3 -
Rating: 68
I find myself disagreeing with Andrew here, although Andrew does make the right comments regarding the direction of this album, I don't find the songs up to scratch. I can appreciate Billy has covered most of his career with this one but I find the punk orientated tracks tacky and no better than the mundane punk wannabe crap that frequents modern radio. The lyrics suck and the songs do no justice whatsoever to the Billy Idol we love to hear (well I love to hear anyways). The tracks that do work are cool, the album single Scream rocks nicely (but is it just me or does this one sound identical to Shock to the System?), but not so sure about album opener Super Overdrive. Rat Race is good albeit slowing things down somewhat, and Body Snatcher and Evil Eye deliver the later day Idol well enough.

Overall I don't think this is a great album, I was dissapointed as I was expecting a package of fun but I find there's less remarkable here than waste, which hurts to say cause I am (and still remain) a fan of Billy, going back to his classics is trully one of the greatest ways to discover the 80's melodic scene.

But hey, he still sounds f***'n cool!

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