Blondie: Pollinator (BMG) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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May 08, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

No one can accuse Blondie of not trying its hardest to create an album that fits into some aspects of the current musical atmosphere. The iconic group enlists a glittering list of Jumbotron names in songwriting to help shape Pollinator, its 11th studio album in over 40 disjointed years of existence. Among these are Sia, Charli XCX, Johnny Marr, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, and The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, not to mention producer du jour, John Congleton (St. Vincent, Sigur Rós).

Considering Blondie required very little, if any, handholding in the songwriting department during its classic years, this level of interference is worrying. Central figure Debbie Harry’s 71-year-old voice is as distinct and clear as it has always been. It works best on “Long Time”which has its moments of revisiting “Heart of Glass,” the disco-drenched “Fun”which has absolutely no overlaps with the edginess of disco-era Blondie, and on the slick and sticky chorus of “Too Much”which like all true pop songs has little to offer outside of the chorus. This is why it’s such a head-scratcher that Harry’s voice gets put through distortion on the group’s cover of “Gravity” or pushed through a musical theater strainer on “When I Gave Up On You.” With or without effects, Harry’s voice is not the issue. It’s that on some of the overfilled numbers, such as “Monster,” there is so much clogging of the song with sonic elements, there is figurative choking happening. In contrast, other numbers, such as “Best Day Ever,” are begging for some more attention to be paid to their threadbare skeletons.

There is zero expectation for Blondie to create Parallel Lines 2.0. That would require an actual miracle. Pollinator, however, is too removed from oh so many things that made Blondie great to be acceptable. (

Author rating: 3/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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May 17th 2017

This guy is an idiot and has submitted the only negative review on the internet.

May 19th 2017

This IS a great album. All this reviewer was looking for was Parallel Lines 2.0, but this is Pollinator 1.0, and awesome for it. One of the most FUN albums I’ve heard in years.

Give it a listen. It exceeded my expectations and obviously touched something with most other people too—this guy aside, it’s getting great reviews.