BRITISH singer/writer/instrumentalist Lloyd Cole, formerly of Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, recently debuted his first solo LP Cole, a mainstream star in Europe but a cult figure here, doesn’t necessarily want to keep it that way: Id much rather be Billy Idol than some cult artist.” That seemed reason enough to ask him to review Idol’s new “Charmed Life. ”

“What’s attractive about Billy Idol is that mix of crazed rocker and sensitive, serious artist. He can do both a Rebel Yell and a Prodigal Blues-the latter is the best cut on his new LP. In U.S. mainstream rock, nobody else really has that mix. The biggest problem with Charmed Life is inconsistency in melodies, chord progressions and over-all composing-too many cuts are good ideas that just didn’t get fleshed out all the way Guitarist Steve Stevens, who left the band, was a tune writer, and Billy needs that kind of co-writer here. On the plus side, Endless Sleep was a smart cover-tune choice, and Billy puts his own stamp on it; he’s a great singer who’s getting even better; and lyrically, he’s taking big steps forward, too-listen to The Loveless. Maybe this is a transitional album-Billy on his way to finding Billy the bona fide artist. If you like the guy, especially that voice, the good stuff on Charmed Life makes it worth your money.”

Publication: Playboy

Publication date: 01/10/90