Generation X - Kiss Me Deadly (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Generation X

Kiss Me Deadly (1981)


Considering it contains one of Billy Idol's best songs ever, you'd think Kiss Me Deadly would be the best Generation X album. That's right, "Dancing With Myself" originated here. You'd also think that since the record features Terry Chimes (The Clash), Steven Jones (The Sex Pistols) and John McGeoch (Public Image Ltd., Siouxsie and the Banshees), that this shit would be gold. That it would turn Generation X into a punk supergroup.

Not so much.

Generation X effectively broke up in 1980 when drummer Mark Laff and guitarist Bob Andrews quit. The band went through retooling (and rebranding; Kiss Me Deadly is technically accredited to "Gen X") and recorded two records, the abandoned Sweet Revenge album and this one. While Idol took one last stab at keeping the Generation X name alive here, he was already on his way to a solo pop star career. In fact, he launched himself into stardom later that year with the Don't Stop EP, which included reworked versions of Deadly ditties "Dancing With Myself" and "Untouchables." This album never really had a chance.

Generation X always emphasized the pop in pop-punk, but Kiss Me Deadly captures Idol right before he went into full on '80s pop mode. It's ridiculous that the guy could write some amazing punk tunes in the '70s and then go on to sing "Eyes Without a Face." As a consequence, a lot of the material here feels defanged at best, forgettable at worst, which is even more disappointing considering the pedigree here.

Still, there are a handful of catchy tunes to recommend. "Dancing With Myself" was obviously meant to be a hit even back then. "Happy People" dabbles ever so slightly in dub. "Triumph" proves that, however fleetingly, Idol could still fuse pop and punk into an enticing blend.

Overall, though, Kiss Me Deadly is a disappointing conclusion to Generation X's discography. Collectors might be interested in it, but it's real worth is as a curio, not an album. "Dancing With Myself" is an insanely catchy song, but you could always just go for Don't Stop. That one comes with a sweet glamor poster of Idol.