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Generation X - Generation X (Cover Artwork)

Generation X

Generation X: Generation XGeneration X (1978)
Chrysalis

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

As far as '80s pop singers go, Billy Idol was supposed to be the dangerous one. Prince was the artist, Madonna was the sex object, Cyndi Lauper was the quirky girl, Michael Jackson wrote m.f.-ing Thriller. But Idol, man, that guy was badass. He wore leather and had spiky hair! Swoon! He was like the.
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As far as '80s pop singers go, Billy Idol was supposed to be the dangerous one. Prince was the artist, Madonna was the sex object, Cyndi Lauper was the quirky girl, Michael Jackson wrote m.f.-ing Thriller. But Idol, man, that guy was badass. He wore leather and had spiky hair! Swoon! He was like the pop star version of a punk rocker.

Which is fitting since before he became a solo sensation, Idol was in a pop punk band called Generation X. If Idol was too punk for the pop singers, then he was too much of a pop singer for the punks. After three underappreciated records, Idol split from the group to find solo success (One of his early hits, "Dancing With Myself," was originally a Gen-X tune too). All of this is a shame, though, as the Gen-X discography is actually pretty good.

Generation X veers more towards the pop spectrum than most British punk bands were doing at the time, thankfully. In fact, the U.S. version of the album opens with a cover of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth." Then again, Lennon was Joe Strummer's favorite Beatle, so maybe it's not that surprising of a cover choice. Either way, the band does a great job with the tune, lending a little bit of a sneer to Lennon's lyrics. Other tracks, like "Wild Dub" and "Kiss Me Deadly," toy with what punk could be despite its quickly codifying philosophy.

Still, though, Generation X has a few strikes against it. Like Idol himself, the record is divided between what it wants to be. Its greatest crime in the '70s was sounding professionally arranged. But some of these tunes drop the punk card constantly, to the point that it gets kind of annoying. Punk songs about being totally punk only go so far.

But while some of the songs are a little pandering, it's still an excellent slab of pop-punk (and "One Hundred Punks" is a better up the punx anthem than anything the Casualties ever did). Although Generation X probably wouldn't even be discussed nowadays were it not for Idol's later fame, the band really does deserve a spot in the punk rock canon. Generation X, as well as its follow-up Valley of the Dolls, is a stellar pop-punk release.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Skibz777 (December 15, 2011)

I agree mostly with the negative points of this article. Generation X often seems to pop and manufactured to be taken seriously as a punk record. It's no secret that Idol's a guy who'll jump onto the latest trend if it benefits him, but I'm not going to criticize him for his ethics: as far as the music goes, it's not bad at all.

SloaneDaley (December 15, 2011)

I'll fall in line and call this record a classic, up there in terms of firstwave UK punk with The Pistols, Damned, Buzzcocks etc.. It is a shame none of their other records hold up as well but there are gems scattered throughout and a lot of their singles are essential listening as well. I think a lot of people write them off because of the Billy Idol connection.

NattyBoh (December 14, 2011)

Classic record from my teenage years. Still holds up well too.

hobbzoid (December 13, 2011)

this is a classic.

conblake (December 13, 2011)

Generation X is pretty awesome, my favorites still "Kiss Me Deadly" (and yeah, I nicked that from SLC Punk). It's pretty damn beautiful, a celebration of punk rock and that adolescent feeling it can have. It's also forward thinking for the time, a "punk ballad" that foreshadows both "Everlong" and the Jam.

upthepunx (December 13, 2011)

You know a guy in LA?

kidgotham (December 13, 2011)

I have always loved this record.

evanPGH (December 13, 2011)

I'll be the first to admit that I found out about Gen X from watching SLC Punk when I was 14.

One of the more underrated early punk bands. Good review.

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