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****Excellent***Good**Fair*Poor : COMPACT DISCS

December 15, 1987|ROBERT HILBURN

"Generation X." Chrysalis. Before he moved to America and became a solo star, Billy Idol was a partner with Tony James (of Sigue Sigue Sputnik fame) in this controversial late-'70s British band--controversial because it came up during the punk era but mixed its spunky energy with a bright, almost mainstream pop-rock sensibility that offended punk purists. As much influenced by Marc Bolan and John Lennon (the album opens with Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth") as by Johnny Rotten, Generation X's anthem-minded music in this 40-minute debut package (spotted at a $9.99 budget price around town) was ragged but invariably high-spirited. ***

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