Generation X – Valley Of The Dolls (1979): Review

Produced by Ian Hunter
Label – Chrysalis

Perhaps Tony James and Billy Idol always wanted to be mainstream rock stars, as their sophomore album is a world away from their Punk roots. “Valley Of The Dolls” is as close to a glam fuelled pomp rock album one could imagine, with many of the intro’s retreading David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” era, with compositions that are less experimental, more traditionally structured. Bringing in Ian Hunter to produce further alienates from their origins, and the results on the whole are mixed. Oddly, the singles are the weaker tracks, particularly the daft Rock n’ Roll pastiche “King Rocker” which describes a boxing match between John Lennon and Elvis Presley. The title track sounds too close to Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel” riff, and shows the band’s creative limitations.

The highlights come in the opening salvo with the quick fire rockers “Running With The Boss Sound” and “Night Of The Cadillacs”, which in hindsight may be the best songs the band ever recorded. The rest sadly just trundles along without any justified substance. It’s all Billy Idol’s empty posturing, and a self evident lack of identity which creates a muddy ambiguous overall sound. The confusion over generic direction would eventually prove to be Generation X’s downfall, and the band would begin to disintegrate following this release. The signs are all too clear to see on “Valley Of The Dolls”.

This album sees Generation X galloping headlong into mainstream culture with an unquestioning haste, and one wonders if their commitment to anything bar gratifying themselves with mainstream “success” at all costs was the driving force that drove them. Part time punks? You betcha!

5/10

Track Listing
A1 Running With the Boss Sound 5:02
A2 Night of the Cadillacs 3:20
A3 Paradise West 5:28
A4 Fridays Angels 3:19
A5 King Rocker 2:16
B1 Valley of the Dolls 3:34
B2 English Dream 4:57
B3 Love Like Fire 3:20
B4 The Prime of Kenny Silvers (Part One) 3:55
B5 The Prime of Kenny Silvers (Part Two) 3:22

King Rocker

Valley Of The Dolls

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