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Audio remixed and remastered; DVDs flawed but worth having

  • Dec 20, 2009
If you want a Blondie greatest hits record to collect the classic tracks in one place *as you remember them from back in the day*, steer well clear of this record: The remasterer has been at work, and most, if not all, tracks have pretty clearly been remixed as well as remastered, not to mention shortened. While newer listeners may like the updated sound (in some ways it's a sympathetic update - mostly just a little more bass and drums, and it's fairly subtle - but not so subtle that you can't notice it!) many of us older buzzards will feign righteous indignation that anyone could have dared to meddle with such pop perfection. This is DEBBIE HARRY for crying out loud. Is nothing sacred?

A much better bet for those old timers would be The Best Of Blondie, which was released about 1984, and contains most of the essential tracks, as recorded and (mostly) unedited.

What this collection *does* offer old timers is two things: Firstly, a good quality recording of "Rapture Riders", the mash-up of Blondie's Rapture and the Doors' Riders on the Storm. Purists hate it, but I think it's pretty cool.

Secondly, the original videos. Now Debbie Harry in the late 70s and early 80s was like nothing else on the planet for a boy my age, and to see it on a good sized plasma now, while dated, still sends a shiver down the spine (notably the early ones - Debbie's gorgeous backlighting in Picture This and Heart of Glass deserve a special mention). But, candidly, many of the other videos are of historical interest only: Blondie fizzled out just before the MTV generation hit it off, so televisually slick this is not: while we should indeed think ourselves lucky that there even are contemporaneous videos of our pop goddess in her prime, most are somewhere between silly and unconvincing (Atomic, Hanging On The Telephone) embarrassing (The Hardest Part, which sees Debbie in S&M gear sporting - some would say wisely - a ridiculous long black wig and dark glasses) and downright bizarre (The Tide Is High - the band in New York with superimposed giant goldfish at the window, a mutant Darth Vader and then - of course! - some stock NASA footage of a Saturn V rocket) and the in any case dreadful Island Of Lost Souls). On the other hand there is a video for Shayla, which is a wonderful bonus.

Nonetheless there's enough of that Debbie Harry Magic to make this worth the purchase for the DVD alone.

But audiophiles: your best bet would be to go back to the Albums: Parallel Lines and Eat To The Beat (the latter of which I am proud to say was the first record I ever bought, aged 12) are outstanding records, but you only catch a glimpse of them here.

Olly Buxton

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Olly Buxton ()
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Blondie defies definition. The legendary band is a little bit punk, a little bit reggae, a little bit rock, a little bit new wave, a little bit pop, a little bit hip-hop and a lot of downtown attitude. Already gold in Europe,Blondie: Greatest Hits--Sound & Visionwas released March 7 by Capitol/EMI, one week before the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The new CD/DVD package contains 20 audio tracks and 16 video clips, including the band's biggest hits and previously unreleased remixes. "Rapture Riders"--a mash-up of the band's "Rapture" with the Doors' "Riders on the Storm"--and its accompanying UK music video make their release debut on the new collection.Blondie's influence on today's artists is undeniable. Debbie Harry and Blondie have been a major influence on superstars like Madonna, Garbage's Shirley Manson, and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, among many others. They were one of the first groups to emerge from New York's new wave/punk renaissance with an album (1976'sBlondie); the first to chart a #1 single, a revolutionaryblend of punk and disco ("Heart of Glass"); and the first to top the charts with both a rap song (1981's "Rapture") and a reggae tune ("The Tide Is High"). And now Blondie have added to their legacy by being selected for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Sex Pistols, and Miles Davis, as one of two first-time nominees (Davis is the other)."This is a tremendous honor for us," said ...
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Label: Capitol
Artist: Blondie
Release Date: March 7, 2006

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