songs that will never end up on a Kitty playlist

August 11, 2010

Looking through the music I own, I have an entire CD that will never end up on a Kitty playlist, mostly because I haven’t listened to it all the way through since I bought it for $2.99 in a bargain bin in 1997.  Its very existence confused and worried me and for $2.99 I could find out for myself.

That would be Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk.

Released in 1993, it’s not awful or anything.  It’s just really, really forgettable.  It’s also about 8 years too late to be anything resembling cutting edge, considering that the whole concept of cyberpunk as a social movement was about played out by then (it still has some legs as a literary aesthetic, I’d argue).  It may not have looked like it at the time, but the novel Snow Crash, which can be read in some ways as a parody of cyberpunk, came out a year later.  Hindsight is 20/20.

6 Responses to “songs that will never end up on a Kitty playlist”

  1. JeffW Says:

    I tried playing tracks from that disk on my own late-night radio show in college (in about 1994 or so). I remember wanting it to be cool … and it just wasn’t. “Forgettable” is probably the best way to describe it.

  2. I rather liked it. It epitomized one of the main principles of cyberpunk—though, perhaps not in the way that Idol intended.

    After all, one of the tenets that is always used to characterize cyberpunk is “style over substance.” And if there was any album that had more style and less substance than that one, I have yet to find it.

    (And I will always have a special place in my heart for “Adam in Chains”, as the relaxation exercise at the start of that song helped me relax enough to go to the bathroom when I was in the hospital recovering from the aftereffects of surgery on a broken leg in a motorscooter accident. Ironically, Idol had the idea for the album while recovering in the hospital from a broken leg in a motorcycle accident.)

  3. Jakk Says:

    I am a huge Billy Idol fan(since Generation X),but i agree the album was not one of his best. The main single, Shock to the System was just ok(i liked it more then than listening to it now). Between this, and the grunge movement(in which all things 80s/hair bands went away), Billy just got left behind.

    Interesting fact: Billy was originally going to be the T1000 in T2: Judgement Day, but the motor cycle accident Chris above mentioned caused him to be replaced by Robert Patrick.

  4. I dunno – there’s a passingly decent cover of “Heroin” on it. But other than that? A better cyberpunk albumn by far (although not sold or identified as such at the time) was “A secret wish” by Propaganda, from 1984.

  5. carriev Says:

    I think that may be the key — anything marketed specifically as cyberpunk is going to be inferior to something that manages to be cyberpunk without announcing it so loudly.

  6. Steve Wheelock Says:

    I’m guessing the following songs would curl Kitty the werewolf’s ears (just for fun; respectfully):

    Is Everybody Happy Now? (Ted Lewis [11/18/27])
    The Glory of Love (Rudy Valee/The Five Keys/The Velvetones….)
    Smoke From Your Cigarette (The Mellows [Doo Wop])
    In the Still of the Nite (The Five Satins)
    The Woo Woo Train (The Valentines)
    Red Hot (Billy Riley [Rockabilly])
    Bip Bop Boom (Mickey Hawks)
    Voodoo Voodoo (LaVern Baker)
    Crazy Man, Crazy (Bill Haley [1953])

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