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Blondie
THE CURSE OF BLONDIE
(Sanctuary)
Stars graphics

Ever since their 1980 smash "Call Me," Blondie have been better at making pop singles than rock albums. Thatís not always a bad thing: the new-wave legendsí 1999 comeback hit, "Maria," was a guitar-driven blast that found frontwoman Deborah Harryís famous pipes in top form. "Good Boys," the club hit from the bandís eighth and latest studio effort, takes a less organic but equally frothy approach. Working with the unlikely combination of writer Kevin Griffin (Better than Ezra) and producer Jeff Bova (Celine Dion) and singing over a frisky Europop groove, Harry sounds as vivacious as ever at 58: "Good boys never win/They all fall away, and you remain."

The Curse of Blondieís 65-minute duration is twice as long as most of the bandís classic albums, and it has more than its share of experimental filler. Keyboardist Jimmy Destri edges out guitarist Chris Stein in the writing department; his "Last One in the World" is an enervating hard-rocker, and his "Background Melody (The Only One)" frames a classic Harry line: "Baby, when they made you/I was the background melody." Harry and Stein compensate for the grating rap opener, "Shakedown," with "Hello Joe," a wistful goodbye to Joey Ramone that sounds almost tropical. Those highlights aside, the disc amounts to something less than the sum of its parts.

(Blondie perform this Saturday, May 8, at Avalon, 15 Lansdowne Street in Boston; call 617-262-2424.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON


Issue Date: May 7 - 13, 2004
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