Ghosts of Download released in 2014 may have been a sign of changing times for Blondie, a fear that they might be lost in the new age of sound and music production but three years later Blondie’s latest album Pollinator released on 5th May 2017 is the resurgence of one of the greatest bands of all time.
So lets make it clear. Nothing is ever going to top Heart of Glass, Atomic or Maria but Pollinator is an 11 track album compiled with tune after tune and the 11th album by the new-wave New Yorkers provides other bands with a ‘how to’ guide on how to really progress throughout the years in the music industry.
Doom or Destiny, the opening track on the album is filled with punk guitar rythmns and harmonic singing by Debbie Harry and as opening tracks go, this is everything you would want in an opening song, flooded with energy and liveliness. The rather aggressive tune leads onto a Bowie-esque sound titled Long Time,co-written with Dev Hynes. Twisted with emotional synth sounds giving a revival to the much loved sound of the seventies, Hynes and Harry experiment with one another producing what is clearly the stand out song on the album. Speaking to Mojo, lead guitarist Chris Stein stated “We thought to ask people because there’s so much good music swirling about”. It’s clear that the band have not retreated from experiments with other musicians such as Charlie XCX, Sia and The Strokes Nick Valensi all featuring in the album. My Monster written by The Smiths guitarist and indie rock legend Johnny Marr is filled with Marr’s signature jangle rock guitar playing.
Gravity and Love Level confirm that Harry and Co. have not lost the iconic sound they first produced in the 1970’s with Harry’s rugged tone being carried throughout the two tracks. Although experimentation is clear in the album, Blondie don’t forget their primitive new-wave/punk sound. As the album draws to an end Too Much is a sign of the future experiments that Blondie can endure as they show no sign of stopping just yet. It’s techno, meteoric chorus gives a sample of a new era for the band, mixing modern day popular sounds with the memorable sound they brought to us in the 70’s and 80’s.
Fragments brings the album to a close, the lengthy seven minute song with its fluorescent chorus and Harry’s emotion singing shows that no energy is lost in the album from start to ending.
Pollinator isn’t the greatest Blondie album of all time, it’s an experiment, blending new sounds with their signature tone to create an album that bands should listen to and learn from. Blondie are as relevant as they were in the 1970’s and they show no sign of putting down their instruments just yet.
Words by Brigid Harrison-Draper