Blondie’s 20 Best Songs – Ranked! | blonde hair

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20. The Tide is High (1980)

When it came to choosing cover versions, you couldn’t fault the likes of Chris Stein and Debbie Harry, hence this alluring take on the 1967 single written by John Holt by Paragons. Additional points for the video, which involves Darth Vader, a flooded apartment, and a dancer inexplicably dressed as a pan – that makes absolutely no sense.

19. Fragments (2017)

Since its reformation in 1999, Blondie’s albums have been of decidedly mixed quality, but their most recent, Pollinator, is by far the best. His closest seven-minute episodic – a cover of a song by a Canadian YouTube influencer, you think – is majestic, weary and angry. It is unlike anything else Blondie has recorded.

18. Shayla (1979)

The exception that confirms the rule on the quality of non-singles tracks from Eat to the Beat. Melancholy, synth-laden, slow-motion Shayla once again makes Blondie’s debt to ’60s girl groups explicit. It’s a song you can imagine being shrouded in reverberation by Phil Spector circa 1965 and powered by the Be My Baby battery.

17. Tear It To Shreds (1976)

Camp, naughty fun that seems to speak of Blondie’s New York roots. The sultry guitar has an air of Velvet Underground – which Harry and Stein saw live – while the super bitchy vocals capture the wicked and vicious atmosphere of Max’s Kansas City, where Harry worked as a waitress.

Blondie in 1976 … (left to right) Gary Valentine, Chris Stein, Debbie Harry, Jimmy Destri and Clem Burke. Photograph: Chris Walter / WireImage

16. Good Boys (2003)

Blondie’s great single Lost, dropped on their unloved 2003 album, The Curse of Blondie. A killer chorus and lyrical flight from Queen’s We Will Rock You, on a distinctly Giorgio Moroder synth bassline; if it had been released in 1979, instead of 24 years later, it would have been a hit.

15. For Your Eyes Only (1982)

Blondie’s latest original album, The Hunter, is a leaden and miserable listening, with brilliant production that can’t hide uninspired songs. But there is one exception, a potential Bond theme with a killer chorus. Bond producers rejected it in favor of a Sheena Easton ballad, which was pretty much the final insult.

14. In the Flesh (1976)

From the opening, the Shangri Las-inspired monologue to the production credit of Richard Gottehrer – author of Angels ‘My Boyfriend’s Back – Blondie’s self-titled debut album was obsessed with the’ 60s girl group; In the Flesh is a perfect update of a dreamy ballad girl group influenced by doo-wop.

13. Denis (1977)

The original – Denise from Randy and the Rainbows, a hit-wonders – is a 1963 falsetto doo-wop single, very much of its era. Blondie’s version drags her into the late ’70s by throwing everything into the song – glam stomping, French verses, synthesizers, frantic drum rolls – transforming its atmosphere. The UK charts were powerless to resist.

On stage in Amsterdam in 1977.
On stage in Amsterdam in 1977. Photograph: Gie Knaeps / Getty Images

12. To fade and shine (1978)

Ballads aren’t quite what Blondie was known for, but from her electronic intro, Fade Away and Radiate by Parallel Lines – about watching late-night TV movies in an altered state that goes from happiness to paranoid – is strangely convincing. Harry seems appropriately zoned; Robert Fripp’s guitar solo is amazing.

11. Sunday Girl (1978)

“I wasn’t making a new wave album,” said producer Mike Chapman, of Parallel Lines, “I was making a pop album.” Nowhere is this clearer than in Effortless Sunday Girl: the lyrics of a teenage romance, the irresistible sweetness of its melody accented with a hint of harshness through Harry’s voice.

10. One Way or Another (1978)

A highlight of Parallel Lines, Blondie’s only album that is awesome from start to finish, One Way Or Another boasts a ferociously aggressive voice from Harry that seems to be all made up of hooks. Cleverly covered by One Direction, who appeared to fail to notice that the lyrics are a deeply disturbing portrayal of a stalker.

9. Imagine this (1978)

If you buy Chapman’s take on Blondie while creating Parallel Lines – constantly stoned, perpetually at each other’s throats, musically inept – the sheer quality of the material seems incredible. Picture It’s just a great piece of writing where everything clicks exactly into place, as its tone changes from sultry to hoarse.

8. Union City Blue (1979)

A simple yet effective drawing of a woman wistfully gazing at the Manhattan skyline from the perspective of the New Jersey working class, Union City Blue is a perfect example of Debbie Harry’s underrated talent as a lyricist: the music perfectly matches the meaning of the lyrics of desire and melancholy.

Blondie in 1979.
Blondie in 1979. Photograph: Maureen Donaldson / Getty Images

7. Abduction (1980)

The experiments on 1980s Autoamerican – including string-laden instrumentals, spoken word, and performance tunes – might have worked better if Blondie themselves seemed to enjoy them. But an experiment worked. Quarrel over the quality of Harry’s rap if you will, but the disco groove underneath it is magnificent.

6. (I am always touched by your) presence, dear (1978)

The first sign that Blondie was more than sleek, 60s-obsessed knickknacks. The air is beautiful and the lyrics are by turns funny and sexy, Harry completely inhabits them. But his genius lies in the subtlety with which he gradually builds from a catchy folk-rock intro to its thunderous climax, carried by the superlative drums of Clem Burke.

5. Hang on the phone (1978)

Sometimes a song takes a long time to find its ideal singer. The original of Hanging on the Telephone, a 1976 single from Los Angeles powerpop band Nerves, is pretty good, but Harry’s dominant performance belongs to the song, while Blondie’s arrangement is stronger, brash, tighter and tougher: the stuff classics are made of.

In 1977.
In 1977. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

4. Call Me (1980)

It’s an irony that one of Blondie’s greatest singles isn’t by Blondie at all – Harry sings and co-writes Call Me, but the music is the work of Giorgio Moroder and his regular session musicians. You’d never know: the electronics, distorted guitars, and glam-ish rhythm seem effortlessly Blondie-esque.

3. Dreaming (1979)

Unlike its predecessor which kills without filling, Eat to the Beat of 1979 is based on its singles. But what incredible singles, as evidenced by Dreaming: a perfect pop song, passionately underpinned by Burke playing like he felt like the whole track was meant to be a three minute drum solo.

2. Atomic (1979)

A work of alchemy, Atomic is essentially a series of musical fragments held together by a guitar riff. It’s also a totally amazing song. In the album version, there is no verse / chorus structure, just a fantastic melody and key changes after another. The soaring “oh your hair is beautiful” section is the most glorious moment in Blondie’s catalog.

1. Heart of Glass (1978)

Blondie has sat on Heart of Glass for years – they recorded Once I Had a Love (AKA The Disco Song) in 1975. You can see why they waited: a soap opera through Legs McNeil’s oral history and Gillian McCain Please Kill Me reveals the New York punk scene with deep disgust with disco. Even in 1978, it was a bold move, although the greatness of Heart of Glass lies in the fact that it’s disco entirely on Blondie’s terms, rather than the other way around, a sparkling pop song with a garage organ. -rock playing a flickering riff and lyrics that sum up Harry’s recklessness fuck you: “Once I had a love and it was gas / Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass”.

Yuletide Throwdown reissue released digitally and will be released in limited edition vinyl on November 6 by UMe-Capitol / Numero Group


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