Blondie – Pollinator Review 

Blondie return to their classic foundations with new album ‘Pollinator’, the bands 11th in their forty year career. But far from a stale trip down memory lane ‘Pollinator’ is a joyous expression of Blondie’s iconic creative prowess enlivened with the help of some famous friends. Shining with the exuberance of 1979 new wave, every track, produced by John Congleton, maintains a current feel, even with a little Debbie Harry style disco thrown in. Opener ‘Doom or Destiny’, featuring Joan Jett’s instantly recognisable vocal bite, and one of a few tracks written by Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, drags you right back to Blondie at their most sultry, almost as much as the sparklingly seductive ‘Already Naked’.

While Blondie’s uplifting sound is never too far away in the form of disco infused ‘Fun’, which has its footing close to a Nile Rodgers Chic homage as it’s possible to get without including the likes of Ana Matronic. ‘Heart of Glass’ wrapped in a modern pop haze ‘Long Time’ and ‘Too Much’, are just as punchy even with their stronger leaning towards the bands eighties pop sound, feeling as though they would fit perfectly between Blondie’s greatest hits. 

Displaying the diversity of the album’s collaborations, and the sheer appeal of working with the New York legends, things become even cooler than Debbie Harry staring you down under black eyeliner as ‘My Monster’ co-written by, the indisputable king of indie guitar, Johnny Marr drifts and screeches into life. Marr and Harry looking down their noses at the world was always going to create something special. 

All of this indie cool is quickly followed by bittersweet ‘Best Day Ever’, a collaboration with the always artistic Sia, before getting a little more rebellious eighties teen-girl with Charlie XCX’s ‘Gravity’ and then the quite random inclusion of Bob’s Burgers John Roberts (aka Linda Belcher) on ‘Love Level’. 

Though the dynamics of ‘Pollinator isn’t all cold stares and sharpened fingernails. Things fall into much mellower territory with ‘When I Gave Up On You,’ which mildly brings to mind Keeley’s ‘If I Had Words’. While closer ‘Fragments’ begins to build into a beautiful Bowie style ballad before driving towards an irresistible piano, guitar based crescendo. 

But as the song says ‘You can’t make things perfect,’ and yes there are some lower points to ‘Pollinator’ overall the band’s numerous collaborations haven’t stopped Blondie creating a consistency that forms an album full of perfectly crafted hooks. With an expert mix of pop, eighties punk and alternative rock ‘Pollinator’ is more than a Blondie fan could wish for.

Blondie – Pollinator = 8/10

Hayley Miller

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