Billy Idol’s public persona hasn’t changed much during a music career spanning four decades, and that’s a good thing. At 65, the rock icon continues to make headlines, performing earlier this month with superstar Miley Cyrus at the Super Bowl LV pregame show. True to form, he rocked his signature bleached blond hair and studded leather jacket, while yelling out “come on!” The two hitmakers recently teamed up on the song “Night Crawling” off Cyrus’s Plastic Hearts, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart in 2020.
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Cyrus revealed there were clear signs pushing her towards a collaboration with Idol, someone she’s always admired. Before working together, she said his 1984 song “Eyes Without a Face” followed her around a year. “Anytime I would go anywhere it would be playing. It was really trippy.”
Idol released his second studio album, Rebel Yell, in 1983, which contained the mesmerizing rock ballad we’re still talking about today. “Eyes Without a Face” became his first Top 10 hit in the US, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The music video, a personal fave from early MTV rotation, takes place “in the midnight hour” in a hellish underworld, as Idol portrays emotions ranging from tender to fiery fits of anger.
This week, “daytime disco” band Poolside, the recording project of Jeffrey Paradise and Filip Nikolic, lived up to their name, releasing a dreamy remix of the song, which strips away the heavy ’80s synth, electric guitar from the original in favor of light, tropical vibes. This time around, the female vocalist calls out “les yeux sans visage” (eyes without a face) from a calm and tranquil place, as the remix clears away the dark skies and reimagines the song on a bright sunny day, even as Idol sings the lyrics, “When I’m far from home, don’t call me on the phone, to tell me you’re alone.” Another nice touch is that the prominent handclaps heard throughout the original — indicative of 1980s sound — have been toned down just enough to pay tribute without distracting from the modernized sound.