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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Music Review: Blondie - "40th Anniversary Double-Disc Package"



2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the seminal new wave band Blondie.

In honor of this historic occasion the band has released a double CD set of re-recorded classic hits along with a disc of new material called "Ghosts Of Download."

Disc 1 of the set is "Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux" and finds the band purging their own catalogue to re-record 11 of their biggest tunes including "Heart Of Glass," "Call Me," "One Way Or Another" and many more.

In the past bands such as Journey, Foreigner, KISS and STYX, just to name a few, have re-recorded their greatest hits and as always the first thing that comes to mind is... "Why?"  I assume it's for licensing purposes so that the band makes all the money while former record companies get nothing.

With that being said I can tell you that of all the re-recordings I have heard "Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux" is far and away the best.  The band is firing on all cylinders and although I have no idea why anyone would choose to listen to the remakes over the originals these versions are near perfect.

After enjoying the songs you know by heart you can jump into some new tunes via "Ghosts Of Download."  "Ghosts Of Download" features 12 brand new songs plus an inspired remake of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood classic "Relax."

The disc opens with 3 songs featuring guest artists. From the reggae tinged opener "Sugar On The Side" with Systema Solar to "Rave" with Miss Guy and "A Rose By Any Name" with Beth Ditto the band strays far from it's original pop new wave sound.  Finally track 4 kicks in and "Winter" gives the diehard fans what they were waiting for... classic Blondie music and lyrics!  The rest of the album continues to veer towards more dance oriented tracks with "I Screwed Up," "Make A Way" and the aforementioned "Winter" being the only true standout tracks.

The band still sounds great and maybe one day they will make an album that sounds like one of their 80's heyday albums like "Parallel Lines" or "Eat To The Beat" but for now too much experimentation in the song writing is making the band sound more like Madonna than the new wave pioneers they can still be.

Drumroll please...

"Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux"... 8 out of 10 drumsticks!!!
"Ghosts Of Download"... 5 out of 10 drumsticks!!!

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