"Panic Of Girls"
By: Gus Bernadicou
“Panic of Girls” is a breathe of fresh air to the fans of (reformed) Blondie. Originally slated to be released in 2010, “Panic of Girls” was put on hold until 2011 due to conflicts with the record company. In the same manner of how Blondie’s 1980 “Autoamerican” featured numerous hit singles but is a horribly inconsistent yet manages to be glamorous, “Panic Of Girls” follows nearly the same rubric. “Panic of Girls,” features some of Blondie’s best work, such as the shoulda-been hit single “What I Heard,” and the roaring ballad “Mother.” But with the loss of song writing partner and keyboardist Jimi Destri, the band in a sense needs to reinvent themselves and to do that the bands lyrics were written with the help of nearly every person in Blondie. While this album explores many genres it does not transition as smoothly as one would hope but, nevertheless, still works. Being nearly 8 years since the last Blondie album, the band did have enough time to make a killer album and drummer Clem Burke did state that about 35 tracks were originally demoed for the album, and only 14 did made the final album.
Starting off with the punk-esque “D-Day” Debbie Harry, who is nearly 70 (yet hotter than ever), shows she can still rock. This song has a lot of potential, but it is completely hidden behind the synthesizers/keyboards that is nearly higher in the mix than the vocals! The most memorable pop song follows, and it starts off with the gleaming flow of Clem Burke’s drum rolls. “What I Heard,” shows that for being old enough to be a grandma Debbie Harry knows what’s up and what’s in your mind. “Mother” gives the listener the same feeling one gets while blaring “Heart of Glass,” but it is without the disco... With such a solid start, it is hard for the album to keep the momentum it needs, yet, it somehow manages to but it is defiantly struggling. “The End, The End” is next and its weak production is the perfect transition to the generic cover of “Girlie Girlie,” a reggae hit from the 80’s. However, “Love Doesn’t Frighten Me At All” is the perfected version of the enchantment attempted in “The End, The End.” The next few tracks are decent, but are more realistic of being explained as Blondie trying to act as a parody of themselves. On the other hand, the album does conclude with the silky, smooth Stein/Harry composition “China Shoes,” that shows the eloquence Debbie has with Chris’ guitar chasing after her every move.
“Panic of Girls” is defiantly a must for all Blondie fans and while not necessarily the best starting point for people just beginning their endeavor into the world according to Deborah Harry, it is defiantly not a disappoint. Chris Stein and Clem Burke are in fine form and are sounding as youthful as ever.
This is their strongest album since they reformed but it is still not as strong as "Eat to the Beat" or "Parallel Lines. "While “Panic of Girls” is a unique effort from Blondie, one most realize that they are mature now and it would be immature to attempt to repeat “Rapture;” they must reinvent themselves, while keeping as much blonde hair as possible.
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