Reviews

Billy Idol’s Vital Idol: Revitalized

Billy Idol / Vital Idol: Revitalized

Revitalized is better than expected, but isn’t giving fans what they want

Expectations for Billy Idol’s Vital Idol: Revitalized – effectively a remix album of a remix album – weren’t high. Let’s be honest, when labels proudly tell us that a reissue includes ‘contemporary’ remixes, the heart sinks. Such content has no place within an anniversary reissue. It’s like a obnoxious stranger joining an old group of friends at the pub and laughing too loudly at the jokes. A case of “who are you again, and why are you here?”.

To make it worse, with Revitalized the label hasn’t even bothered with the original content. We don’t know whether the constraints were budgetary or just down to lack of imagination, but instead of doing the obvious – bringing together originals, 1985 remixes and the new re-workings as a triple-disc deluxe edition, Capitol Records have just given us the new stuff, making it a bit of a hard sell for the fortysomething Billy Idol fan. I mean, who is/are ‘Tropkillaz’ and ‘The Crystal Method’ again, and why are they here?

So with a fair degree of trepidation – and my finger poised above the ’skip’ button – I gave Revitalized a listen.

The first thing to point out is that some common sense has prevailed. Most of the mixes here are short and have broadly maintained the structure and Billy Idol performance in each song. There isn’t a 12-minute dub mix of ‘White Wedding’ with no vocals, for example.

White Wedding’ actually kicks things off and while no one, EVER, will improve upon the Parts I & II ‘Shotgun’ mix from the original Vital Idol, the Cray remix on the new album is surprisingly good. It starts off accentuating the bass in the song and for the first minute or so nothing too radical happens before it goes a bit EDM post chorus. But not in a bad way. The arrangement during the verses exudes a nice air of melancholy. My 11-year old daughter came in to the room while I was listening to it and said ‘what’s this?’. Not sure she’d have done that if I’d been playing the original, which is maybe the point with this release.

Dancing With Myself’ (the RAC Remix) isn’t that different. Yes, it has different drums and keyboards bits, but it has still got the guitar solo in the middle and the structure is basically the same and so it retains its punk-ish energy. One thing that occurred to me is that if you haven’t listened to these songs for ages, it’s hard not to enjoy them whatever clothes they may be wearing. ‘Eyes Without A Face’ is such a good track (with those wonderful backing vocals) that you’d have to be completely incompetent to rid it of its charms. That doesn’t happen here and the Tropkillaz Remix is rather enjoyable, in a shuffling hypnotic way. The same applies to ‘Rebel Yell’. Thumbs up for the efforts of Mr Crystal Method – the power and aggression is retained, just with extra spacey keyboards thrown in.

The first real misstep, surprisingly, is Moby’s version of ‘(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows’. This song from the Rebel Yell album was never on the original Vital Idol and to be honest, they shouldn’t really have bothered here. Moby’s trance-y interpretation, with the snare drum reduced to an annoying ‘click’, makes for an irritating listen. Criminally, he’s also messed with the vocals – it sounds like Moby has applied an effect called ‘faulty microphone’. Truly awful. We’re back on track with ‘Flesh For Fantasy’, which retains quite a bit of guitar, features tribal kick drum beats and has a pleasingly minimalistic verse arrangements, before breaking into a satisfying chorus.

I didn’t know the song ‘One Breath Away’ (from Idol’s 2014 album King & Queens of the Underground) but Paul Oakenfold’s remix is fantastic. I went back to search out the original which then sounded REALLY slow. The pacey remix is so much better. I also liked the DJDS Remix of ‘To Be A Lover’ which is more about removing elements, then adding them.

Vital Idol: Revitalized fizzles out a bit towards the end. Nothing much happens during ‘Catch My Fall’ and the Shiba San Remix of ‘Don’t Need A Gun’ is nothing short of abysmal. A dire ‘boom-tish’ club reworking that’s as interesting as listening to paint dry. If there was a memo about trying to keep the structure and spirit of the songs intact, then Shiba – the man who has recently been named “Best House DJ” by DJ Mag France – didn’t get it. But things do end on a positive note with a warm and redemptive ‘Hot In The City’ (the Shotgun Mike Remix).

Incidentally, if you are wondering about the ‘digital-only’ bonus remixes, ‘Mony Mony’ (remixed by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens) is a lot of fun but has some rather sweary chanting in it, which may have denied it a place on the physical editions. There’s an extended version of Oakenfold’s ‘One Breath Away’ remix which just adds a dull intro and outro to the version on the CD/vinyl and another version of the Moby remix of ‘(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows’ which is just as bad as the version described early. Someone paid Moby to do this, apparently. Finally, another song from Kings & Queens of the Underground – ‘Save Me Now’ – is remixed for the digital-only music consumer but it’s a rather pointless instrumental.

Back to the physical release though. It’s certainly not ‘vital’ that you add Revitalized to your collection but there’s plenty to enjoy and only a couple of really bad remixes. That said, it’s hard to work out what the actual point of the release is. One presumes it’s to bring these songs to a new younger audience, but are they going to buy the CD, which is a bare bones minimal effort job, with a thin, content-free, eight-page booklet? I wouldn’t have thought so. In which case, create a decent physical product that serves the existing fanbase.

A properly curated three-CD set with originals, previous remixes and these new 2018 versions is really what was called for. Some kind of ‘Ultimate’ Vital Idol. Let’s not forget there were two versions of the original remix album with variations in terms of what was included. Vital Idol: Revitalized isn’t actually bad at all, and serves to remind us of Billy Idol’s talents, but I imagine it is more likely to encourage many of us to dig out and play our original copies of Vital Idol and won’t necessarily get too many repeated plays itself.

Vital Idol: Revitalized is out now.

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Billy Idol / Vital Idol: Revitalized

CD edition

1. White Wedding (CRAY Remix)
2. Dancing With Myself (RAC Remix)
3. Eyes Without A Face (Tropkillaz Remix)
4. Rebel Yell (The Crystal Method Remix)
5. (Do Not) Stand In The Shadows (Moby Remix)
6. Flesh For Fantasy (St. Francis Hotel Remix)
7. Catch My Fall (Juan Maclean Remix)
8. One Breath Away (Paul Oakenfold Remix)
9. To Be A Lover (DJDS Remix)
10. Don’t Need A Gun (Shiba San Remix)
11. Hot In The City (Shotgun Mike Remix)

Digital only bonus tracks

12. Mony Mony (Idol/Stevens Remix)
13. One Breath Away (Paul Oakenfold Extended Remix)
14. (Do Not) Stand In The Shadows (Moby Remix) (Half Time Version)
15. Save Me Now (Lost Dog Remix)

2LP vinyl edition

LP 1
1. White Wedding (CRAY Remix)
2. Dancing With Myself (RAC Remix)
3. Eyes Without A Face (Tropkillaz Remix)
4. Rebel Yell (The Crystal Method Remix)
5. Do Not) Stand In The Shadows (Moby Remix)
6. Flesh For Fantasy (St. Francis Hotel Remix)

LP 2
1. Catch My Fall (Juan Maclean Remix)
2. One Breath Away (Paul Oakenfold Remix)
3. To Be A Lover (DJDS Remix)
4. Don’t Need A Gun (Shiba San Remix)
5. Hot In The City (Shotgun Mike Remix)

48 responses to Billy Idol’s Vital Idol: Revitalized

  1. Michael says:

    Thank You for Your Review Paul! I’ve been listening to Billy since Flesh for Fantasy was released as a single in 1983. When I saw the cover I was like: Heck no, I will not listen to this. After I read your review – I was like: I will give it a listen and I was positively surprised.

    After listening to the same Albums since 1983, the same extended, dub or instrumental versions (that I owned on CD and Vinyl) it is really refreshing of having the same songs just updated. I find the vocal / rhythm tracks have not been altered and this is – in my opinion – why they all have the original “flare” to them.

    My favorites are 1 to 6 and 8. The rest does not work for me all that much. Oddly enough – the Moby Remix that no one here seems to here – is the one that I almost love the most. I understand that many are upset about the filter on top Billy’s Vocals, but I believe that this is just what makes his vocals blend in perfectly with the rest of his remix. (Do Not) Stand) In the Shadows has been always a personal favorite of mine since the Rebel Yell Album hit the streets. Possibly its just me being nostalgic but I think this is a great remix. Just my 2 cents.

  2. Josh says:

    Great review, Paul – very reasonable and thorough in highlighting the pluses and minuses of this collection. It’s really a shame that this collection was given such minimal effort (not to mention the cringeworthy decision to have digital-only tracks). Your point that a triple disc edition would be the ideal way to showcase the music seems spot on. Hopefully there will be a future releases that do his catalog more justice.

  3. Ibigibi says:

    I may be alone in this, but I like this collection. For the record I’m 45 years old and was into Billy since the 80s. But I was also a club DJ for a spell so maybe these speak to me a little differently. A little suspension of disbelief to separate the originals from these remixes and acceptance of the fact that we didn’t get remastered versions of the original extended Vital Idol collection and I’m good.

    • SimonP says:

      You’re not alone. I’m not a big fan of Idol, but reckon most of these remixes are pretty good. The only exception is the Mony Mony digital bonus track, which I don’t think is all that. It’s a little weird that there isn’t a version of it on the main album, though, as it was such a big hit at the time.

      I recall Paul Oakenfold being slated when this was announced here a while back, but he very rarely makes a duff remix and this one is not one.

  4. Wilfred says:

    when you want a good remix you can’t go wrong with Oakenfold & The Crystal Method, both are exceptional

  5. AdamW says:

    I always want to like albums like these, new remixes of old songs by different artists, especially when I am familiar with the remix artists, and at least 3/4 of them end up being unnecessary (Tron: Legacy Reconfigured, anyone?) or insultingly awful (Graceland – The Remixes, anyone?). You end up thinking, why did anyone even bother?

    The good ones are so few and far between. The Cure’s Mixed Up is the standard bearer here, and even half of those remixes were not new, and one of the best new ones, Keith LeBlanc’s “Primary” remix, was relegated to a B-side. (Of course, it’s often better when the artist redoes the songs themselves, like Kraftwerk’s “The Mix.”)

    I don’t necessarily mind when a remixer completely breaks the song and turns it into something new. My top five in this category has to include Moby, whose “Moby’s Sub Mix” of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” is absolutely worth your time and attention, and is one of the reasons I was so excited about this album. Adrian Sherwood’s completely bonkers “Are People People?,” not so much a remix as an obliteration of Depeche Mode’s “People Are People,” is another favorite of mine, so that should give you some idea of what I’m willing to tolerate. :-)

    But alas, this new Billy Idol thing just… doesn’t need to exist. I can’t imagine dragging any of these out and listening to them again, except maybe RAC’s “Dancing With Myself,” and The Juan Maclean’s “Catch My Fall.” And curse words aside, the Idol/Stevens “Mony Mony” is a true abomination of a remix. No one should want to own this physically, digitally, or in any other way it might manifest itself.

  6. Richard says:

    Some of these remixes remind me of the travesty of the Frankie remixes from the turn of the century.

    Somethings are sacrosanct when doing remixes of beloved songs and artists – mainly maintaining the structure / lyrical essential of the tune. If you’re just going to take one of your songs off the shelf and add the chorus of the song you’re paid to remix to it, you can’t really call it a remix.

  7. RJS says:

    Most remixes are worthless, except for ones where the the original sound of song is not changed too much but it’s extended instead. Tom Moulton is the master of this.

  8. Randy Metro says:

    Who/what is TCM?

  9. Michael says:

    They did new remixes on She’s So Unusual 30 & Bad 25. I didn’t appreciate the updated remixes. Don’t think many other people did either. Ended up buying Michael Jackson’s 3 CD King Of POP Uk edition which has 4 of the original extended mixes from Bad which are great. I can see why people would rather buy digital so you can & choose.

  10. Mark Jensen says:

    I think my favorite updated remix albums are ones where all the tracks are remixed by the same person or collaborators who bring a particular vision to the entire collection. The best examples of this I can think of are so80s Presents ZTT and Torn Down by The Cure, both of which I find highly enjoyable and also interesting to listen to.

    I’ve only heard samples so far from this collection, but this review has at least made me more interested in listening to it further sometime.

  11. mark says:

    Had a listen but will give this a miss and stick to the original which got a lot of playing when i was growing up in Germany in the 80s, i have no doubt that there are some remixes being done that are good but at the same time, there are some really bad ones…As someone who grew up on Depeche mode and who Depeche are my life, a lot of their mixes after SOFAD are just really bad..but i guess its what some people are after and getting upcoming or newer artists to do remixes is no bad thing for them. As for The Crystal Method…each to their own, i will probably get hanged for this…but i always saw American electronic/industrial music a pale second to what was being done in Europe, especially in the 80s…but again its just my opinion…the likes of NIN and others are nothing new when compared to Front 242 but if you like The Crystal Method…then i guess you can just watch the opening titles of Bones on repeat.

  12. Ally says:

    Regardless of what you think of The Crystal Method’s remix of Rebel Yell, your remarks on TCM reveal a profound willful ignorance.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Who’s TCM again?

    • RJS says:

      I don’t recall any remarks about Turner Classic Movies on this site, wilfully ignornat or otherwise!

      • EW99 says:

        “profound wilful ignorance” because someone had never heard of The Crystal Method? That may be ignorance but I don’t know about profound or wilful. I was a big fan of the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy back in the day but I’ve never heard of them. Were they big in the USA but not the UK?

  13. Stephen dC says:

    Totally agree with the review. It’s good to read a like minded lover of music.

    Too many classic songs are having the life sucked out of them by so-called “talented” and “current” remixers who only know how to cut and paste these into 12 minute repetitive slabs largely fabricated by a computer program. The reason the singles charts suck is because it’s too easy to make these moronic nursery rhymes that we offer to the youth as “music”.

    You only have to listen to the Michael Jackson Bad 25 Remixes or the [just as sacrilegious] Big Bump Mix of Need You Tonight by INXS to know that a lot of modern “musicians” just have no soul or feeling to them.

    So just let them be in their EDM clubs and we will continue to enjoy music. Never the twain should meet and we will agree to disagree.

  14. christian says:

    “Let’s be honest, when labels proudly tell us that a reissue includes ‘contemporary’ remixes, the heart sinks. Such content has no place within an anniversary reissue.”

    Well said, and for me this applies to the new White album, Sgt Pepper and Imagine boxed sets. To include remixes instead of the original audio that’s being celebrated is the height of madness. By all means remix them, but at least present that as a value add rather than effectively revising history.

    The new Never Let Me Down mixes sound pretty dreadful so far, but at least the original is in the box.

  15. Paul E. says:

    I think Paul’s review is spot on. I’m actually impressed considering his, self admitted, limited knowledge of EDM- it made the review more discernible for the majority of SDE readers in my opinion.

    That said, the majority of music I listen to is from the 80’s but certainly extends beyond that to include a select few 90’s era electronic artists (i.e. The Crystal Method, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, etc.). By default, DJ’s who remixed my favorite 80’s acts include the likes of Paul Oakenfold , John Digweed, etc. and anyone else who remixed New Order/Depeche Mode/U2…

    The decision to include current and veteran “Remixers” on this release was conceptually pretty cool. It’s too bad some (insert Moby here) didn’t sit this one out but I concur with Paul that The Crystal Method and Oakie deserve top honors on this release. Those not familiar with The Crystal Method’s past remixes should definitely visit “The Crystal Method Vs. The Doors (Roadhouse Blues Remix)”, New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle (The Crystal Method Extended Mix), and Garbage’s “I Think I’m Crystalized (Extended Edit)”. Those three remixes alone cover a decent timeline and display TCM’s ability to bring the fan/listener a well crafted + amped up remix of a song they already enjoy.

    I’ll end with a final thought about the format of this release. When the “Revitalized” track list was announced and they mentioned four remixes would be “digital only” or that nearly 1/3rd of the album could not be obtainable on a physical format, it really turned me off. I’ve got the stomach for vinyl only tracks, Target exclusive tracks, and the like- but not making 20 minutes of additional content on an album that runs only 43 minutes is bogus. Having to keep track of purchased digital files is bad enough but I envisioned myself grabbing the CD someday and pondering “…where the hell are the other songs?” [“oh that’s right, they’re sitting on an external drive somewhere”]. Ultimately, I just waivered on the CD purchase and headed to 7Digital for the 15 track FLAC download (at least if that drive storing the download get’s wiped clean it’s an entire loss – just put all tracks on CD and Vinyl Billy!)

  16. Joe Atari says:

    So, reading this, I agree with a lot of the sentiment about modern remixes. The context they work in is in a club really. It’s a way to spice up house or electro set with something unexpected. On a production level, however innovative the production techniques were in the 1980s they simply dont compared things like bass levels to modern productions. Hell even most 1990s house tracks don’t. I’ve done a lot of DJ sets over the past ten years where I’ve wanted to reference classics, but in a way that didn’t make it sound like a wedding disco. SO in A DJ context they work (I’ve found brilliant remixes of artists like Blondie that revamp the basic elements of the track ithout ruining the vibe). However you are all right, listeners under 30 are unlikely to know much more than “White Wedding”, and a bunch of remixes isn’t going to convert them when they can get their kicks from the Chainsmokers or Skrillex. Why these projects happen is often it’s older producers like Moby or The Juan Mclean jump at the chance of remixing one of their childhood heros. Generally, unless your an overnight success like Martin Garrix, a lot of the names on this remix project have been around a long time too. Hello Moby! Period remixes are most interesting. Even ones done just a few years after the originals, such as the Cure’s “Mixed Up” album generally date faster than the originals if they were classics to begin with. I haven’t hear this Billy Idol album, or the recent Paul Simon one, but there is a very niche type of DJ who might drop them in an Ibiza style set, or maybe at the end of long EDM set in Las Vegas. That’s about it. Rather go the Blank & Jones route with Frankie Goes To Hollywood and simply create re-edits from the originals, or remain very respectful, as Dmitri did with Chic. Other than that, its usually more fun for the producer than the listener.

    • Pete says:

      I remember last year when i heard a 20 minute version of Eyes Without A Face i don’t know what to think one word interesting to say the least

  17. Shane says:

    You know Paul, I think you’re a gifted music fan but I’m disappointed in seeing you putting down current club music (12-min dub version with no vocal – some can be quite good, it’s just a matter of taste) or Crystal Method, which even I have heard of and think they even remix Garbage in version 2.0. Do you think many people want to hear 37 versions of a John Lennon track? I mean, there’s quite some hypocrisy there. You know very well how much many people ridicule tge very music this blog’s audience loves like Oet Shop Boys or Kate Bush to name a few, im disappointed to see you doing the same. As much as i find this particular release quite stupid, you biased post leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Regards

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I don’t see any hypocrisy. How am I a hypocrite for wanting to delve into the sessions of a major album from a major artist like John Lennon and at the same time *not* wanting to hear a 12 min dub mix of White Wedding? Also having an opinion isn’t being biased. The remit of this blog isn’t to given equal coverage to all kinds of music and be make sure that one isn’t represented in a better light than the other. If it was, then you might have a point. Is DJ Magazine ‘biased’ for not running an article on the Imagine Super Deluxe Edition? With this review my job was to give a considered opinion on the new remix album. It’s pretty clear I’m coming at it from a rock/pop point of view and not an EDM enthusiastic, and I happen to think it was quite balanced and gave other SDE readers a fair idea what to expect. I have no idea who ridicules Kate Bush or the Pet Shop Boys. I thought they were both widely respected in the music community.

    • Chris Squires says:

      The day this site moves away from what it is into the kind of turgid, boring, brain crushing cack that my 22 year old daughter adores I am out of here, can’t speak for anyone else. Yes there is a place for it, but I would hope and pray that it isn’t here. To even think about going down that route and getting lost in the myriad of modern, club music sites would be disaster and the end of what has been a mostly very pleasant 5 years here.

      I, for one, enjoy reading Paul’s opinion on most things. The type of music that gets written about here and the types of presentation they get released in is what makes SDE my go to site several times a day.

      At the end of the day it’s Paul’s site to do with as he pleases. He has saved (and cost) me a shed load of cash over the last few years on the type of music I love and it ain’t ever going to be club music.

  18. David H Richards says:

    Ugh, Steve Stevens did not even get the “sweary bits” right on Mony Mony. Anyone who went to a college party in the 80s or 90s knows it is simply “Get Laid, Get F—–”
    Not rocket science.

    • Greg Clow says:

      You’re right that in the 80s/90s, party goers would yell “Hey! [skip beat] Get laid, get f-ed!” during the breaks. But having seen Billy live a couple of times in the last decade or so, I can confirm that at some point between then and now, the chant has changed to “Hey, motherf-er, get laid, get f-ed!” Not sure how it happened – or how the original chant came to be, for that matter – but whatever the origin(s), the remix has it correct.

      Also, this may very well be the silliest nitpick I’ve ever made in a comment section… ;)

  19. BillyD says:

    Does this at least use the original vocals or are they re-recorded?

    Considering how long Billy has been recording solo he doesn’t have many albums to show for it. This was long before record companies began issuing nearly every album track as a single to cut down on recording costs.
    There is a 1999 Rebel Yell remaster that sounds very good. The included demos sound very rough. I think the 12″ mixes should have been included.

    The Crystal Meth OD made a little noise in the US about 20 years ago tacked on to the electronica movement, but they never fit in. Their electronic music sounded a little too much like rock for me.

    Don’t know if I’ve been sold on this. Want to like it, but feel like I’ll be disappointed.

  20. John Murray says:

    Has ever an artist tried to make so much out of so little? And I’m talking his entire post Generation X (great band) career here…

  21. I’m still waiting for an anniversary edition (*35th, perhaps? :-/ ) of “Whiplash smile”, with a proper mastering for CD instead of the flat sounding one that’s been around for 30+ years…

  22. Eamonn says:

    Lol, love the description. Obnoxious Stranger should be an artist or song title at least.

  23. Iain says:

    The only GOOD remix ‘Project’ that I’ve come across is the Dimitri from Paris – ‘le Chic remixes’. But then, the music’s great to start with.

  24. Paul says:

    I am no Billy Idol fan by any stretch, but completely agree with Paul’s sentiments and great review. There clearly was an appetite for these type of releases back in the mid 80s on the back of the 12 inch remix culture – think Howard Jones excellent 12 inch album and PSB’s Disco album. These releases generally appealed to die hard fans and therefore should only be re-issued/remastered staying true to the original. Adding pointless modern mixes is unlikely to attract new fans or appease original fans who bought 1st time around.

  25. Frank says:

    Ordered the colored vinyl version a few weeks back and listened to a few of the tracks digitally the other day. Thanks for the review Paul! Looking forward to giving this a proper spin when it arrives.

  26. Gisabun says:

    Ummm. Not a remix fan. Remember when the original remix album came out. Loved Flesh and Wedding. Meh for most of the rest.
    As far as the booklet, unsure what you are expecting. Lyrics? The only thing you could put in the booklet is the musicians on the original track and who remixed the track plus additional musicians [if any] and other technical stuff.
    They could at least include a download card for the 4 bonus tracks.
    This is mostly an easy make money project anyways. Which is why the CD and LP aren’t too pricey.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      You think that’s the only thing you can put in a booklet? Really? How about Billy Idol taking you through each track, cover art for all the singles, discography and chart positions around the world for each song, the DJ/remixers explaining their vision for the remix… so much you could include, but clearly no one could be bothered…

  27. Michael says:

    An expanded deluxe anniversary package of “Rebel Yell” would have been of real interest, but not “Vital Idol – Revitalized.”

    Personally, I really dislike DJ remixes of classic pop songs, since more times than not, the trendy-techie-hip-hop remix feels forced, and usually overwhelms the integrity of the original material. This ongoing campaign of obscure DJ’s doing their own groovy reinterpretations of well-known songs for people who grew up with that music, seems pretty pointless to me. I would even venture to say that this marketing idea has even less interest to younger music fans who know next to nothing about artists like Billy Idol.

    After all, why on earth would someone in their 20’s or 30’s, who is tuned into today’s top recording acts like Drake, Taylor Swift and Eminem be attracted to music from 30 years ago, even if it is revamped to sound more contemporary? Could you imagine, as a reverse concept, they remixed Jay-Z so his music sounded more like Donovan? No, wait a minute — that might actually be interesting :-/

    • sextonseven says:

      In response to Michael’s reverse concept idea with Jay-Z–it was kinda-sorta already done with Dangermouse’s The Grey Album when he remixed Jay-Z’s Black Album so his music sounded more like The Beatles. I thought it sounded great!

  28. gongfarmer says:

    Nice review. The better mixes here for me are generally the ones that kept more elements from the original tracks. Steve Stevens has such a unique way of blending shimmering chord patterns and overdriven riffs, he is not your typical rocker. Some iconic synth lines for the remixers to play with as well – Crystal Method’s Rebel Yell has the good sense to keep these. I got past the vocals on the Moby mix – I guess he was going for a gothy Joy Division / Gary Numan setting. The Oakenfield mix is the best thing here, taking a song from Billy’s most recent album and turning it into an anthem that could have come from the late 80s. This new mix wouldn’t sound out of place on Vital Idol. I agree that Shiba San brings nothing to the party. I don’t care for the White Wedding mix either – doesn’t fully commit to it’s silly EDM dubstep drop and attempts to replace classic guitar riffs with a far less memorable keyboard melody. All in all though, a fun CD and a nice companion to the original and So80s Billy Idol disks.

  29. Peter says:

    I listened to this collection, and it is quite bad, imho

  30. RJS says:

    “A properly curated three-CD set with originals, previous remixes and these new 2018 versions is really what was called for.”

    To be honest, I don’t think anything was called for. This, as you suggest might have been the reason for its release, is not going to attract a new and younger audience. The original Vital Idol release served its purpose 30 odd years ago and it still sounds good today. They didn’t transform the original songs too much, they just extended them. My original cassette copy featured “To Be a Lover” on side two but not “Love Calling”. I know the US version featured both songs but I don’t see the version I had it listed on Discogs.

  31. Randy Metro says:

    I’m still stinging from that T.Rex 40th Anniversary Massacres & Remixes. For the past week I’ve been doing a severe cull of CDs to make room for…. more CDs. The T.Rex Remixes were in my bullseye. Gave it one more listen. One more try. Goodbye & gone & don’t come back. I am always disappointed with these remix projects.

  32. Ryan F says:

    I’m only aware of the Crystal Method from two previous sources – Spawn (the excellent soundtrack to the bad 90s comic-book movie), which paired rock bands (Metallica were involved) with dance acts, and the results were outstanding. My other experience with them was when they guested on the last Alan Parsons album, which turned out to be the standout track on that CD.

    But ultimately this CD reminds me very much of those Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds remix albums a few years back – mixing classic rock with modern dance sensibilities. Just as with the Wayne albums, this sounds like a mixed bag… I’m actually curious as to what this is going to sound like. I was going to give this a hard pass but now I’m actually intrigued…

  33. Chris Squires says:

    Thanks for that Paul, I cancelled my order of the coloured vinyl from Universal to make way for something else, can’t remember what, by the sounds of things I made the right choice, if it brings little to the party but a few pleasant moments and as you say I have listened to Vital Idol twice in the last few weeks when it hadn’t had a spin in two decades or more. Vital Idol was the first album I bought when I returned from my gap year in Sweden, so the original has a massive place in my heart.

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