Title - 'Blondie 4(0)-Ever'
Artist - Blondie
2014 marks the 40th year since the inception of legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Famers BLONDIE!
The band is kicking off the celebration with this very special release. Blondie 4(0)-Ever: GREATEST HITS: DELUXE REDUX / GHOSTS OF DOWNLOAD is a unique package containing 2 separate albums that salute both Blondie's past and their present.
Greatest Hits: Deluxe Redux is a collection of the very best of Blondie revisited and recorded anew by the band over the past couple of years while they were recording GHOSTS OF DOWNLOAD, a collection of brand new music aided and abetted by the some of the world's most unique artists.
Ghosts of Download begins with the Jamaican-flavored 'Sugar On The Side' (featuring the Columbian turntablists/hip hop collective Systema Solar) which instantly shows us Debs and her boys have lovingly flirted their way back to the glorious days of 'Rapture.' That's backed by the fast-paced 'Rave' (featuring Miss Guy) and then the wonderfully flowing 'A Rose By Any Other Name' which features Beth Ditto ("If you're a boy or if you're a girl, I love you just the same.")
The old school Blondie sound of 'Winter' is next, with 'I Want To Drag You Around' and then the Latino flow of 'I Screwed Up' featuring Los Rakas. Now, next comes a track I've wanted to hear from Blondie since it was recorded - a cover version of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's infamous 'Relax.' Featuring the additional vocals of Keilah Baez, Felicia Dennis and Keisha Williams, the track is NOT what you are going to expect! Well, it starts off slow, like it's almost a spoken-word version that relies on the aforementioned female guest vocals more than Debs herself. Then halfway through it turns mid tempo for a hot second before exploding into glorious 80's sound for the last third.
Next comes the Blondie-to-a-tee 'Take Me In The Night,' which is backed by the Blondie-by-numbers 'Make A Way' and then the fresh-sounding Debs on 'Mile High.' The fun bounce of 'Euphoria' is next with both 'Take It Back' and then finally 'Backroom' bringing the new album to a close.
The second disc is chock full of newly-reworked, re-vocaled, re-played old school Blondie hits from back in the day. Not that they sound too much different, in truth we get such gems as 'Heart Of Glass,' 'Dreaming' (who's intro does sound a little fresher, for sure), 'The Tide Is High,' the stunning 'Maria' ("She looks like she don't care, walking on imported air"), and then both 'Sunday Girl' and 'Hanging On The Telephone.'
The always-brilliant 'Rapture' brings us the first real now-I-hear-it vocal redo from Debs when it comes to the now-more-methodical rap sequence, and that rolls into the feisty 'One Way Or Another' and then 'Call Me.' Which, if these are really re-vocalized, well, wow, Debs' vocals are still spot on incredible. The album comes to a close with both 'Atomic' and one of my favorite ever early Blondie tracks, 'Rip Her To Shreds.'