Blondie - Pollinator LP
Off-white colored vinyl pressing.
You catch yourself when you ask Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, one of the most captivating creative pairings in music ever, about the creeping gentrification of New York City. You catch yourself because Blondie was formed during a 1970s era of urban decay – a time when the travails of being in a band, seeking an artistic outlet, or instigating a scene as a means of existence was a survival of the fittest among streets of heightened crime and social unrest. Certainly, those 1970s New York streets have been glamourised in the onslaught of retrospective looks at the punk, new wave, disco and hip-hop scenes that found their fundamental roots in that era. But it certainly wasn’t an easier time to live there. The challenges and intensity of the city were just different.
Blondie emerged the fittest. They’ve outlived the groundbreaking moment that birthed them and have adapted to time, space and industry evolution as much as the face of New York itself. Walk into any dance club tonight and hear a ‘Call Me’ or a ‘Heart Of Glass’. Talk to any hip-hop historian and recall that Debbie was an original Beastie Boy who took rap music to the masses when it was still a block party concern. Read any tome on the history of punk and they’re interwoven into the fabric of the one genre that still inspires most and every band to pick a name and find a practice space. Their active presence in our lives 40 million albums sales and countless accolades later (including a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2006 and NME Godlike Genius Award in 2014) isn’t something anyone wants to take advantage of.
That’s what their 11th album ‘Pollinator’ sets out to establish. In true pop art fashion it’s as post-modern as a concept gets and the perfect way to move on from 2014’s 40th anniversary celebrations and the subsequent release of ‘Ghosts Of Download’. In ‘Pollinator’ exists a giant feedback loop – one in which Blondie created, then generations were inspired, then those generation created and inspired, and are now teaming up with Blondie. When the time came for Chris, Debbie and drummer Clem Burke to “get the band back together” and make an album, choice pioneers from the decades since Blondie’s birth were called upon to contribute songs for the record, thereby weaving their own way into the living, breathing story of the band, a group that directly affected their own genetic makeup. The list is enviable and reflects the dynamism of Blondie’s very own cross-pollinating past: Johnny Marr, Sia, Dev Hynes, Charli XCX, Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), Nick Valensi (The Strokes) and The Gregory Brothers all lent their creations for Blondie to interpret, each building upon the aspect of their heroes that’s bolstered their own sound.
1. Doom or Destiny 2. Long Time 3. Already Naked 4. Fun 5. My Monster 6. Best Day Ever 7. Gravity 8. When I Gave Up on You 9. Love Level 10. Too Much 11. Fragments