Monday, May 23, 2011
Remembering the Original Cyberpunk
3 times Grammy nominated William Michael Albert Broad, better known as Billy Idol was the original MTV pioneer and quintessential punk rocker who mined platinum for years with numerous hit albums including the hugely popular Rebel Yell (1983) (featuring the international hit “Eyes Without a Face”) which catapulted him to superstar status, 1986’s Whiplash Smile and 1990’s Charmed Life. Although immensely popular and successful, his latter music sounded increasingly outmoded, relying far too often on his typical scorn and the Billy Idol trademark howl than on any new musical direction.
Then the accomplished punk rebel discovered the futuristic worlds of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, one of the greatest Science fiction writers of our times who helped define the cyber world genre. Gibson’s vision of an ultramodern future where information is the most valuable commodity and where console cowboys physically jack into their computers to cruise through cyberspace captured Idol’s imagination. He bought a computer, learned how to use it DIY and starting hanging out in cyberspace.
Soon, Idol made what, in many minds was the predictable evolution from a regular punk to a cyber punk, with his 1998’s experimental concept album aptly called 'Cyberpunk', an electronic tour de force of intense techno beats and cyber-lyrics that has one foot in Rock and the other in the brave new cyberdelic world of the early 90s.
Inspired by his trek into the computerized world of electrons, cybertrons and fiber optic cables along with his overzealous fascination with sci-fi culture, Cyberpunk touched upon many of diverse themes the cyber subculture of those early days of the Internet (usenet) embraced.
Lyrically presenting a revolutionary world controlled by corporate overlords and populated by cybernetic cowboys, ardent religious fanatics and a zombie working class held in virtual slavery, Cyberpunk worked well as one of the first musical interpretations of cyberpunk culture and idealism, acting as a bookend and a shining example to new artists exploring unchartered musical frontiers. In fact, Cyberpunk was the first album by a mainstream artist to feature an email id !!!, a special edition multimedia floppy disk (as CR-ROMS were expensive then), a supplementary Shock to the System VHS cassette or actively embrace the Internet in its development and promotion.
While many fans and critics disagreed, the new-fangled change suited him well, breathing new life to his style (Billy Idol was James Cameron's first choice for the T2 Cyborg in Terminator 2) and a raw electronic energy to his music. And although a critical and commercial failure some calling it 'one of the worst albums of all time'; musically at least, Cyberpunk offered some of the best that Idol had produced since the days of "White Wedding" or "Dancing With Myself," recapturing the original strength, appetite and ferocity that originally fired Idol into stardom and led to his previous successes.
Lyrically entrancing and tunefully diverse with a strong electronic flavor, “Cyberpunk” is rhythmic, provocative and often times disturbingly dissonant, much like the discordant society being described, the world that we have now become.
I have not added the entire album of 20 tracks here but only the notable hits and some of my personal favorites including "Shock to the System", "Heroin", "Adam in Chains", "Power Junkie", "Love Labours On" and "Mother Dawn", a fast paced duet with Durga McBroom (of Blue Pearl)
12 tracks in playlist, average track length: 5:11
Playlist length: 1 hour 2 minutes 12 seconds
1. Billy Idol - Wasteland (No Religion 11) (3:54)
2. Billy Idol - Shock To The System (3:37)
3. Billy Idol - Tomorrow People (5:05)
4. Billy Idol - Adam In Chains (6:20)
5. Billy Idol - Neuromancer (4:36)
6. Billy Idol - Power Junkie (4:46)
7. Billy Idol - Love Labours On (3:53)
8. Billy Idol - Heroin (Velvet Underground Cover) (6:56)
9. Billy Idol - Shangrila (7:24)
10. Billy Idol - Concrete Kingdom (4:51)
11. Billy Idol - Venus (5:47)
12. Billy Idol - Mother Dawn (featuring Durga McBroom) (5:03)
Free Mp3s - 95.61 MB Single Zipped Folder - Megaupload Download link
THIS IS A NON-COMMERCIAL FAN MIXTAPE. IF YOU LIKE BILLY IDOL, PLEASE BUY ORIGINAL BILLY IDOL MUSIC.