Billy Idol

Devil's Playground
(Sanctuary Records)

On his affable comeback album, Billy Idol just barely succumbs to the demon that haunts Hollywood recording studios, whispering in the ear of every aging rocker, "Better tack on some drum loops for the Hip-Hop Generation, old man!" That leaves most of Devil's Playground for the original arena punk to inhabit his cartoony image so unselfconsciously that he even steps out of character. If, as the VH1 version of history would have us believe, "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding" are visionary hard-rock classics, then so is "Romeo's Waiting." But this rangy record offers better, like the cockney comedy and Ramonesy drive of "Yellin' at the Christmas Tree," and best of all, "Cherie," a tribute to late '60s AM radio folk-pop that's such swinging fun it almost gets "Eyes Without a Face" out of your head forever.

 
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