Billy Idol is eligible for Medicare and is a grandfather, however he nonetheless has some burrs beneath his saddle and ghosts within the machine to cope with in his golden years. The artist previously referred to as William Broad makes all that clear on The Cage EP, a four-song file that follows final yr’s The Roadside and now seems to be Idol’s most well-liked type of releasing new music. The truncated format definitely works to his benefit, in addition to the listener’s, as this bite-size 14-minute dose of Idol blazes by in a blink and leaves us wanting extra, extra, extra.
The sneer, angst and “hopeless rage” of Idol’s iconic ’80s hits are evident all through The Cage, with longtime guitarist and co-writer Steve Stevens nonetheless alongside and firing off meaty riffs as if he has them stockpiled and simply ready their flip to be taken into the studio. And whereas the raging Idol persona could seem ripe for caricature, on The Cage – launched in tandem with the George Harrison-established Dark Horse Records label (now run by his son Dhani) – he presents himself as subtly matured, wiser however not essentially tamed after 45 years of releasing music.
Idol kicks issues off by “screaming in isolation” from a “Cage,” prepared to interrupt out after “living on the edge” and “fighting with my demons” whereas Stevens and the opposite gamers steer the music from its tense verses into an explosive bridge and refrain. You may drop this on any of Idol’s multiplatinum efforts of the ’80s, and even on a Rick Springfield album and it could sound as legitimate then because it does now.
Idol digs even deeper on “Running From the Ghost,” staring out by singing alone with a piano earlier than the monitor once more ratchets up, this time into the form of galloping, goth-y metallic opus that Evanescence or Ghost can be proud to have on their albums. Stevens aptly channels a scorching twin-guitar assault, whereas Idol’s examination of “the Jekyll to my Hyde” clues us into some darkish inner struggles that feed his muse.
The Cage‘s different two songs are character research. “Rebel Like You” is a glammy, guitar-drenched rocker wherein Idol eyeballs a fan within the crowd “in your leather boots and black waistcoat, looking just like me” – and loving it. The closing “Miss Nobody” is the change-up, in the meantime, produced by hitmaker Butch Walker and co-written by fellow pop hitmaker Sam Hollander; its sonic polish and slinky rhythm slink are decidedly modern, however the girls within the story – down and out however not defeated, and nonetheless defiant – shouldn’t be a far cry from the place Idol has positioned himself on the EP. There are doubtless some Idol followers annoyed by the EP format and craving one thing full-length. But the short-form strategy is protecting Idol important and in as superb fettle as he is ever been, so let’s not rock this cradle any time quickly.