I wonder if back in 1974, when Debbie Harry and Chris Stein planted the Blondie seed, they thought they would see the fruition of an eleventh album after a 40+ year career in music. The latest album Pollinator is a significant miles stone that they have reached as a band (still with three original members, Debbie, Chris and Clem Burke) after a successful career achieving feats such as; induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a number of Grammy Awards and over 40 million in record sales. For their latest release, they tapped into some of the hottest talent in music today; Sia, Charli XCX, Nick Valesi, Johnny Marr, Dev Hynes, Dave Sitek; all of whom were no doubt pollinated by the music of Blondie.
Pollinator is filled with high energy catchy tunes to the point that it can feel frantic, as if they are reliving the cocaine haze of the 70’s disco era. Blondie does not venture far out of one particular sound aesthetic in this album, this makes many of the tracks blur into each other as if they are mere variations of each other rather than separate songs. However, there are a few tracks that stand out in a great way. Fun’s infectious disco funk touch and vocal hook will get you grooving for sure. When I Gave Up On You takes the tempo down a little and has a point of difference in its harmonic movement. The syncopated groove of Love Level, gives your ear a break from the perpetual straight time of the rest of the album.
I’m sorry to say that Pollinator was not a big winner for me, but I sure as hell am glad that Blondie is sticking it to an industry that is overtly sexist and ageist by continuing to create music. I could only hope to be as vivacious as Debbie Harry in my early seventies.