Friday, March 14, 2008

Blondie - Blondie

This debut is the band’s one damn-near perfect album before moving onto other territories such as disco and some so-so pop. Not that they didn’t do any good music after this, but nothing was ever quite as consistent again.

Opening with the shoulda-been-a-hit “X Offender”, Blondie displays their 60’s pop tendencies to the hilt, with cheesy (and terrific!) Farfisa organ, girl group vocals and reverbed guitars. This did become an underground hit but for some reason just couldn’t break into the mainstream.

The rest of the album is almost as good, with some truly fantastic 60’s-styled pop tunes. In fact, if the band had come out ten (or maybe even 5) years later, they would have been considered one of the 60’s revival bands instead of a new wave/punk group.

There are lots of little lyrical twists to promote singer Debbie Harry’s undeniable sexiness – “no girl he likes to ball better”, “I could give you some head…and shoulders to lie on”, etc. Would they have gotten the attention they did without her beauty? No way to know, but regardless, guitarist Chris Stein could really write some great songs.

“In the Flesh” is pure girl group ala the Shangra-las, “Look Good in Blue” contains the “head and shoulders” line as well as some cool guitar lines, “In the Sun” is their New York twist on surf music which is followed by their West Side Story tribute, “A Shark in Jet’s Clothing” which captures the movie’s feel while somehow still updating it all.

I really like the whole vibe of “Man Overboard”, though I can’t really say how I would describe it! Nice and somewhat eerily moody, though. “Rip Her to Shreds” is a super-snarky, anti-groupie tirade with call and answer vocals and biting lyrics like “she looks like she washes with Comet” and “red eye shadow, green mascara – Yuch! She’s too much”.

“Rifle Range” sounds like girl-group mixed with spy move themes that then moves into “Kung Fu Girls”, which is probably the “punkiest” tune on the record, with its feedback-driven guitars and acerbic vocals, but there are still heavy 60’s-keyboard sounds abounding. The album closes with the, quite frankly, silly “The Attack of the Giant Ants”, which is still good fun in a b-movie kinda way.

The CD release has 5 bonus tracks, including a terrific early take on the Shangra-las “Out in the Streets” as well as a couple of other previously unreleased (possibly Stilettos songs?) “The Thin Line” and “Platinum Blonde”. It closes with the single versions of “X Offender and “In the Sun”.

Overall, an absolutely great updated 60’s pop album!