“Blondie” by Blondie - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1976Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Out just in time for Christmas was the debut LP from the exciting quintet out of New York who lined up: Debbie Harry (31, vocals); Chris Stein (26, guitar); Gary Valentine (20, bass); Jimmy Destri (22, keyboards) and Clem Burke (21, drums). The set is dominated by three giant tracks, as highlighted on my Jukebox picks. Opening proceedings is “X Offender”, an alt-mix of which had served as the group’s debut single just 6 months earlier. The track is pure bubblegum dynamite; great drumming and superb garage-pop organeering underpins a salacious tale delivered by a sassy blonde bombshell. Gary’s original lyrics concerned an 18-year-old boy being arrested for having sex with his younger girlfriend. Debbie made the lyrics more decent by making it about a prostitute being attracted to the police officer that had arrested her. Lawdy! The dynamism is maintained on track 3, “In The Flesh”, which was the group’s current single at the time of the album’s release. It’s a classic of the rock n roll ballad variety, and beautifully captures the teen-spirit which co-exists between the doo-wop and punk eras. Quite brilliantly, Ellie Greenwich is drafted in for backing vocals, forging a bona-fide connection between Blondie and the golden-era of the Spector-esque girl group sound of the Ronettes and the Shangri Las. In ’76, Blondie and Ramones know the score – this rock n roll reinvention thing is ON. Whilst there’s not a poor track in the set, some are rather tame; “A Shark In Jets Clothing”, some sort of East Side Story update, is just too pop for my tastes, despite a neat line in finger-clicking. All is soon forgiven when the VU-inspired “Rip Her To Shreds” comes bursting in just a couple of songs later. Beneath the cool veneer, Debbie is screaming out against bitchiness and gossip merchants, most especially within the confines of the judgemental showbiz columns. “The Attack Of The Giant Ants” is great fun to finish – producer Richard Gottehrer has a blast recreating some of the whackyness of the rockabilly 45 obscuros, as the New Wave pop vibe eventually caves in to reveal a Godzilla-style horror-show. There’s a smile on the face by the end – I suspect my feeling at the time might have been one of intrigue… there’s something about Blondie…

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:14] 9.8.png Blondie - X Offender (Deborah Harry, Gary Valentine) New Wave
A2 [02:07] 5.7.png Blondie - Little Girl Lies (Deborah Harry) Pop
A3 [02:33] 9.4.png Blondie - In The Flesh (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) Rock n Roll Ballad
A4 [02:55] 6.1.png Blondie - Look Good In Blue (Jimmy Destri) New Wave
A5 [02:39] 6.6.png Blondie - In The Sun (Chris Stein) New Wave
A6 [03:39] 5.5.png Blondie - A Shark In Jets Clothing (Jimmy Destri) Pop
B1 [03:22] 5.7.png Blondie - Man Overboard (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) Disco / Funk
B2 [03:22] 9.9.png Blondie - Rip Her To Shreds (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) New Wave
B3 [03:41] 5.9.png Blondie - Rifle Range (Chris Stein, Ronnie Toast) New Wave
B4 [02:33] 5.6.png Blondie - Kung Fu Girls (Deborah Harry, Gary Valentine, Jimmy Destri) New Wave
B5 [03:34] 7.0.png Blondie - The Attack Of The Giant Ants (Chris Stein) New Wave

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