You either love him or you hate him. Me I love Billy Idol. I don't care if he was a complete poser punk rocker. I don't care that he adopted the style for MTV when in reality not a single song of his is punk rock. The fact of the matter is that he released some great songs. He had that great sneer, a great voice and one heck of a band behind him.
"Sweet Sixteen" is a song I had kind of forgotten about until I picked up this single. It's funny because now in my adult years I hear country overtones in this song, which I didn't notice as a kid. I was too distracted by the faux punk persona to notice I guess. Actually I think by 1986 when this song was release I had pretty much checked out of all mainstream music which is probably a better explanation of why I didn't notice.
The two songs here are taken from Billy's 3rd album Whiplash Smile. They both have plenty of 80's overproduction. I think "Beyond Belief" is weighed down in over production. "Sweet Sixteen" on the other hand I think succeeds because of it. I think it is because of the country influence which does lighten things up.
"Sweet Sixteen" is the kind of song that would work on a mix tape or a soundtrack about traveling across America. I can see an old Cadillac convertible easing it's way through Joshua national forest. It's a sound and theme that U2 capitalized on a year later with "Joshua Tree".
So next time your ready to head across country download this song and add it to your playlist to set the mood.
01 Sweet Sixteen.mp3
02 Beyond Belief.mp3