Blondie – Panic of Girls

January 01, 1970

(ElevenSeven)

 

www.blondie.net

 

One spin of Blondie’s new album is
all you need to underscore that this is a band that’s never lost its edge, its
spunk, its grit, its voice. Frontwoman Deborah Harry, who must feel as if she’s
lived about five cool lives, has again written crisp, engaging lyrics that
provide the commentary to the masterfully crafted tunes written by long-time
band mate and one-time love Chris Stein. Sure, the songs are a group effort
that fully engage all members, but the classic Blondie sound is clearly the
child of Harry and Stein.

 

And what a child it is, dabbling in
reggae, funk, and early Panic! At the Disco beats without ever tilting
full-bore into anything other than Blondie’s signature sound. In talking to Blurt, Harry said that the music was
just a natural outgrowth of the band’s artistic chemistry. “It’s
always been a premise of ours to be creative and to make statements. I can’t
explain it more than that,” she says of the myriad of musical styles
they’ve embraced on the album. “I personally think, and I’m sure that
Chris feels the same way, when you’re actively involved with an art form [such
as] music, you have to express new ideas or new feelings.”

 

They’ve certainly done that on past
albums but arguably never more confidently. While they dipped into reggae on
the classic “The Tide is High,” they take a high-dive leap into the
format on “Girlie Girlie.” You’ll hear it in Harry’s vocals, telling
the story of a Caribbean bon vivant and his
many love interests, and the band’s instrumentation, highlighted by unrelenting
bongos. Then there’s classic Blondie punk in the form of “Mother,”
the ode to the one-time club in New
York’s Meatpacking District in which the band first
blossomed. Yet the band also rocks – complete with some fancy guitar work – on
songs including the mid-tempo “Words in My Mouth.”

 

Sure, Blondie has taken some long breaks from recording together,
but that doesn’t mean the members ever really moved away from their art or
various collaborations. This album is a wellspring of the
bandmates’ combined creativity and an ode to free-spirited artistic expression.
Bravo.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Mother,” “Words in My Mouth” NANCY DUNHAM

 

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