September 1995

Page 97

album reviews

beautiful – the remix album

The editor of this magazine will confirm that there’s frankly no point in being alive unless you consider Deborah (nee Debbie) Harry to be ‘POP’ written a hundred miles high in skywriting by the Red Arrows. With angels in the cockpit. And fireworks.
Blondie were the only band some of us would ever want to be the drummer in (apart, of course, from the sacred Dexy’s). We even applied for the job. Every Friday. We vowed we’d never think of them as less than perfect.
Then a few years back, along came a Remix Album that haplessly tried to barge them into credibility by putting a daft stuttery bit into the middle of some of their greatest songs. Like a dimbo accountant thought it’d be a great idea to make the Mona Lisa wear a T-shirt. For ‘the kids’ and everything.
La Harry has gone solo in the meantime and made some criminally underrated records. Rumour has it though that, for reasons known only to their landlord, Blondie are to reform. So the record company, spotting a chance to, like, GET IT COMPLETELY WRONG, has chosen to cobble together an album of yet more ‘interpretations’ of the sublime. The backbeat’s the sound of us slapping our foreheads in disbelief.
The ‘Beautiful’ bit is good. It’s the album title they never dared print. And the idea of calling a variation Debbie Does Dallas would have been great if it shuffled the creativity of almost anyone else on the planet. Hey, the tunes even rock like nobody’s business, trancily pinpoint the spot for the indirect kick on the dance floor.
But they’re Blondie songs, for goodness’ sake. They don’t need anyone to start picking about. Not until some bright spark suggests the roof of the Sistine Chapel needs a coat of eggshell emulsion. It was the same guy who suggested this album? Right. Figures.
A track list. No. THE track list. Union City Blue, Dreaming, Rapture, Heart Of Glass, Sunday Girl, Call Me, Atomic, The Tide Is High, Hanging On The Telephone, Fade Away And Radiate, another Dreaming and just one more Atomic. Play the originals on Class A drugs at the wrong speed while you push a gross of ball-bearings down the staircase of a skyscraper and you’ll get the general impression.
I Know at least two of us will quietly weep as we write letters to our local MP. Blondie are eternal and this selection ought, at least, to make you go to check out just why. If, of course, you can hear anything over the din of dickhead marketing.
You’ll find the guilty parties at church next Sunday. They’ll be the ones telling the choirboys to breakdance.
Paul Mathur

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