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For a heavy metal album, The Crimson Idol sure stands out with its ballads - the main one being “The Idol.” This single gives you the shortened version, and by shortened we’re talking about more than half of it cut off. Now, by my standards that’s butchering it, but once again it may work with the media if listeners have faith enough in this version to go hear the real deal. This shortened version acts like a clip of the actual song, thus serving the purpose of interest without the same effect and message as the original.
As one of my favorite songs on the album, “The Idol” is the one that captures the emotion of making your dreams come true, but not being happy in the end. For the song, the entire first four minutes are chopped off, starting the song off with the heartbreaking acoustic tune while Blackie’s voice carries the listener forward; lyrics of rage and turmoil are called out in a very culpable and dry singing style. Production is spot on like the album, but the journey ends far too early, leaving you wanting more. While very melodic, “The Idol” is a sad and focused look at what happiness can and can’t buy for you.
“The Eulogy” was one track that surprised me more than “Phantoms In The Mirror” from the Chainsaw Charlie single. The build-up at the beginning alone should be a great indication to how much this song will blow you away: a harmonious, depressing keyboard rise met together with an aggressive drum and riff to follow? Yes, please! It manages to bring the attitude of The Headless Children, the melody and focus of The Crimson Idol, and goes beyond in both departments while still not sounding out of place. It’s like a cousin to “The Titanic Overture,” since it’s all about pure build-up and very little in the way of vocals. Drums have the say as they roll throughout; the song ascends to a climax and then slowly goes off the edge, so there’s no real focus like the grandiose “The Great Misconceptions Of Me.” What really sounds poignant, though, is that keyboard tune – I’d say it makes the song memorable for me; such a sad tune that you must hear.
This single also includes the second part to “The Story Of Jonathan” (the first part is found on the Chainsaw Charlie single). Nowadays it can be found on the reissue of The Crimson Idol, and be thankful because it adds more character to the album. Blackie continues his narration of the story he created; this isn’t singing by the lyrics – this is him literally speaking in his own words (though acted through the voice of Jonathan) with a sole acoustic guitar playing the tune from “The Invisible Boy” behind him quietly. It picks up with him meeting with Chainsaw Charlie and you pretty much know the rests from there. The vibe is incredibly relaxing; I could listen to this song / recording (posing as a song) while driving and would love every second of it.
Aside from the shortened version of “The Idol,” I love this single. It offers a variety of tracks like the Chainsaw Charlie single, but that one was a little more fun while this one definitely shows the true face of the album.