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Billy Idol - Charmed Life

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Charmed Life

Billy Idol

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By 1990's aptly named Charmed Life, Billy Idol was seemingly more well-known for his excessive lifestyle than his creative zenith of a few years prior. This made his channeling of Jim Morrison on a rowdy cover of "LA Woman" even more apt. He had done so before, of course, most memorably on 1986's Whiplash Smile. But where Idol's clever amalgam of dance beats and punky guitar breaks had done its part to define the 1980s, his update of the classic Doors song was the new sound of the same old seedy, City of Angels underbelly, remixed for the cusp of a new decade. Its mirthful screams and bizzaro beat speak ("She drinks my wine spo-dee-o-dee") also marked one of Charmed Life's few memorable moments. "Cradle of Love" was another obvious high point; together with its saucy video the clattering, histrionic single was largely responsible for the LP's platinum status. But Steve Stevens had departed prior to Charmed, taking his pyrotechnic guitar with him, and his absence is certainly felt. The album wallows in mood pieces like the greaser-tinged "Endless Sleep" or the confessional "Prodigal Blues." While the latter cut does feature a surging melody and some great synth textures, its guitar blasts don't ring with the same fervor. Likewise, the fiery soloing of "Right Way" doesn't mesh as well with Idol's vocal or the synthetic-sounding backing track -- the whole thing is like the classic pieces of a Idol song, disassembled. Charmed Life probably will offer the sneering rocker's true fans some teeth-sinkable material. But it's impossible not to notice its inconsistencies.
© Johnny Loftus /TiVo

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Charmed Life

Billy Idol

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1
The Loveless
Billy Idol
00:04:18

Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jimmy Johnson, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Greg Mathieson, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Kevin Becka, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Craig Porteils, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

2
Pumping On Steel
Billy Idol
00:04:43

Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bryan Carlstrom, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Phil Shenale, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Wertheimer, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Concors, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal)

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

3
Prodigal Blues
Billy Idol
00:05:42

Phil Soussan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Bunny Hull, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Brown, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Baird, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bryan Carlstrom, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Stephanie Spruill, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Concors, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryant Arnett, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Barrow, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

4
L.A. Woman
Billy Idol
00:05:31

Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Baird, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - JOHN DENSMORE, ComposerLyricist - Jim Morrison, ComposerLyricist - Ray Manzarek, ComposerLyricist - Keith Forsey, Producer - Robert Krieger, ComposerLyricist - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vito, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Dave Concors, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryant Arnett, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Barrow, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

5
Trouble With The Sweet Stuff
Billy Idol
00:06:00

Bunny Hull, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alex Brown, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Composer, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bryan Carlstrom, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ken Paulakovich, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Vito, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Stephanie Spruill, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Concors, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryant Arnett, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Composer, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Concours, Composer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

6
Cradle Of Love
Billy Idol
00:04:41

Billy Idol, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - David Werner, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1990 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Capitol Records, Inc.

7
Mark Of Caine
Billy Idol
00:04:33

Randy Jackson, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Bryan Carlstrom, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Concors, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryant Arnett, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Barrow, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

8
Endless Sleep
Billy Idol
00:03:13

Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - TOMMY VICARI, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jody Reynolds, Composer, Author - Mark Younger-Smith, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Barrow, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Dolores Nance, Composer, Author

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

9
Love Unchained
Billy Idol
00:04:41

Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Vito, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Bryant Arnett, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Barrow, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

10
The Right Way
Billy Idol
00:05:05

Phil Soussan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Percussion, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Baird, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Producer, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bryan Carlstrom, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Wertheimer, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Concors, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Guitar, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - John Díaz, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Art Natoli, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

11
License To Thrill
Keith Forsey
00:06:02

Phil Soussan, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Bernie Grundman, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Billy Idol, Composer, Author, Vocals, Horn Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mike Baird, Drums, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - Keith Forsey, Composer, Producer, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Bryan Carlstrom, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - TOMMY VICARI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Concors, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryant Arnett, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mark Younger-Smith, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Arthur Barrow, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal)

℗ 1990 Capitol Records, LLC

12
311 Man
Billy Idol
00:03:53

Billy Idol, Composer, MainArtist - Keith Forsey, Producer - Mark Younger-Smith, Composer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records

13
Lovechild
Billy Idol
00:05:50

Billy Idol, Composer, MainArtist - Keith Forsey, Producer

℗ 1990 Capitol Records

Album Description

By 1990's aptly named Charmed Life, Billy Idol was seemingly more well-known for his excessive lifestyle than his creative zenith of a few years prior. This made his channeling of Jim Morrison on a rowdy cover of "LA Woman" even more apt. He had done so before, of course, most memorably on 1986's Whiplash Smile. But where Idol's clever amalgam of dance beats and punky guitar breaks had done its part to define the 1980s, his update of the classic Doors song was the new sound of the same old seedy, City of Angels underbelly, remixed for the cusp of a new decade. Its mirthful screams and bizzaro beat speak ("She drinks my wine spo-dee-o-dee") also marked one of Charmed Life's few memorable moments. "Cradle of Love" was another obvious high point; together with its saucy video the clattering, histrionic single was largely responsible for the LP's platinum status. But Steve Stevens had departed prior to Charmed, taking his pyrotechnic guitar with him, and his absence is certainly felt. The album wallows in mood pieces like the greaser-tinged "Endless Sleep" or the confessional "Prodigal Blues." While the latter cut does feature a surging melody and some great synth textures, its guitar blasts don't ring with the same fervor. Likewise, the fiery soloing of "Right Way" doesn't mesh as well with Idol's vocal or the synthetic-sounding backing track -- the whole thing is like the classic pieces of a Idol song, disassembled. Charmed Life probably will offer the sneering rocker's true fans some teeth-sinkable material. But it's impossible not to notice its inconsistencies.
© Johnny Loftus /TiVo

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