Blondie - Pollinator

Blondie Pollinator cover
It’s cool to see Blondie back with their 11th studio album, almost 40+ years after their homonymous debut and 6 years after the previous “Panic of Girls”. Who hasn’t admired the blonde Debbie during the 70s and the 80s? Needless to say, she’s still in good shape both psychically and musically. Her voice is still the band’s no1 characteristic “instrument”.
The new album starts ideally with “Doom or Destiny”, which also features the rock Goddess Joan Jett. A wonderful up-tempo pop/rocker. “Long Time” has a more “Heart of Glass” vibe and takes us to the popier (new wave) Blondie era. This is the second single of the album, which was released as 7" too. “Already Naked” has also a popish 80s atmosphere. This track could have easily been released during the 80s. “Fun” showcases the band’s disco-pop, electro/pop side. A fine track but nothing more. This is also the lead single from the album.
After the first 4 aforementioned tracks, the album takes the downside. I won’t talk only about the 3 covers that are totally unnecessary according to me, “My Monster” (Johnny Marr), “Gravity” (Charli XCX) and “Fragments” (An Unkindness). But I’d like to refer to tracks like “Best Day Ever” where the vocals are kinda bad – it’s hard to stand them on the refrain. “When I Gave Up on You” (featuring The Gregory Brothers) is an acoustic track with rather not so “good” vocals as well. “Love Level” (featuring John Roberts) is probably the worst track on the album that has an awful refrain. “Too Much” sees the band return to normality but all the above-mentioned tracks have already ruined the whole thing that started out so nicely. “Tonight” is a hidden track after “Fragments”, where Debbie sings in duet with Laurie Anderson. The track was released on a limited edition, 1000 copies one-sided 7". A quite good and emotional track.
“Pollinator” is the last recorded album at New York’s legendary Magic Shop studios before their closure. It was also produced live in the studio by John Congleton (St. Vincent, John Grant, War On Drugs, David Byrne). Apart from the Blondie classic writing duo of Chris Stein and Debbie Harry, the album features contributions from: Johnny Marr, Sia, Dev Hynes, Charli XCX, Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), Nick Valensi (The Strokes) and The Gregory Brothers.
Well, I wish the other tracks were similar in value like the first 4 ones but they are not. Instead, both these tracks and the covers made the album become not as good as it would have been otherwise. Blondie have still got it, but they should be more focused and have stricter criteria when it comes to tracks.