Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 6 November 2016
'Valley of the Dolls', Generation X's much derided, Ian Hunter-produced follow-up to one of the best albums of 1978, has stood up better than most thought. This is what happens when you have the gall to try and follow a classic. I seem to recall the title track as single not impressing me much on vomit coloured vinyl; but to be fair, I was a dreck-worshipping, Plug-like school-kid when it came out, and not the expert on absolutely everything that I am now. Much sneering at 'VOTD's nasty rockism followed over the years, mainly due to Derwood's trad (but superbly ferocious) guitar playing, and Idol's lip-curling Americanisms, already in full swing (Notice how the album cover now has 'Featuring Billy Idol' tacked on. Nasty.).
'King Rocker' is still gross - but elsewhere, the likes of 'Friday's Angels' and the album's barracking opener, 'Running With The Boss Sound' hit the mark with venom. 'Kenny Silvers' is an excellent sequel to 'Kiss Me Deadly' - Even the title track sounds better in an album context.
Even when we moved towards long mac territory, there was still a place for the likes of 'VOTD'. It needs to be aligned with Skids and Ruts, rather than the 'old' old guard, tho the punk edge is still plainly there to see.
At least they didn't go all brassy / girlie backing singers / reggae on us ~ seen as 'progress' at the time, but looking well suspect now. Generation X stuck to what they knew : hard-assed r'n'r. Sure, it sounds a bit 'Sticky Fingers' in places, and the Hunter influence is obvious, which is maybe partly why the punklet critics of the day gave 'VOTD' such a walloping.
It wasn't til Idol went solo that everything went pear-shaped. He should've re-invented himself as an Adam-style sex-buffoon and had a good old laugh at himself and the music industry instead of soaring Stateside and wasting years making risible, fat stad-rock. It's as if he took the criticism on board the plane with him, and lazily carved a career out of it.
The first two Generation X albums are it as far as Idol's r'n'r legacy is concerned.