Mid-1980’s ‘Vital Idol’ has gotten all dolled up and nobody seems more jazzed than Billy Idol himself. His energy and excitement float through every track. His whisper rises over pumped-up bass before blasting into an ionosphere of electronic bleeps. It’s refitted with blistering harmonies as it synchs up with CRAY’s multi-rhythms. It’s ‘White Wedding’ gone ballistic and it’s splendid when Idol faces off such strident bass and compelling keys.

The RAC remix of ‘Dancing with Myself’ finds Idol’s cool-drink-of a voice brassier and bolder than ever. His striking performance collides with joyous beats and enraptured harmonies.

Our man’s ever so soulful and tempered on ‘Eyes Without a Face’ with whom Tropkillaz reign.

One of Idol’s most courageous performances here after a spellbinding bass intro., ‘Rebel Yell’ is etched in fresh blood amongst the pulsating dance scape. Idol is in cahoots here with The Crystal Method.

(Do Not) ‘Stand in the Shadows’ is an uber-cool Moby remix. Against sweltering synth, Idol celebrates his range. The inherently suspenseful, ‘Catch My Fall’ is also intensely honest. Idol shows remarkable restraint amidst the underlying roar, and, although we wait for his pipes to all-out explode, he enjoys keeping us guessing.

‘One Breath Away’ is rife with fantastic ideas, both rhythmically and melodically. ‘To Be a Lover’ finds the front man delving into uncharted waters. Here Idol channels his most inner soul, volleying back and forth with talented backing singers.

‘Don’t Need a Gun,’ however, could have used even more of Idol’s seductive phrases. ‘Hot in the City’ enjoys some Caribbean seasoning. Idol’s suave phrasing pulls it even more tightly together. We all swooned over Tommy James’s ‘Mony Mony’ before the rock baton was rightfully passed on to Billy. And much like the original (as well as Idol’s original take), this rendition warrants as much excitement as American football fans at a tailgate party.

Three “digital-only” bonus tracks are included on ‘Vital Idol: Revitalized’ and they all pack a punch but the main event is what transpires on the essential basic tracks. If you like to dance, whether with yourself or a bottle of Chianti, this one’s for you.

Photos by Keith Ainsworth

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