Here’s a choice for you to make. Do you get the band back together and try to write a bunch of songs that sound like the kind of stuff you used to churn out in New York in the late 70s and early 80s; the risk here is that you’ve been out of practice for some time now and you might be feeling a bit rusty. The other option is that you get the band back together to record a new album, but one with material written by other people, fans of the work you’ve done previously that made you the stars you are.
Blondie have taken the second option, recruiting the likes of Johnny Marr, Sia, Charli XCX, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek and The Strokes’ Nick Valensi to help create in Pollinator Blondie’s classic late-1970s sound, propulsive, polished and shiny-as-new. New, in that it’s the original Blondie line up, and on the rockin’ drum-framed opener ‘Doom or Destiny’, partnering with none other than Joan Jett.
There are some classic-sounding corkers on this record, from ‘Love Level’, with its outstanding pop brass riff; ‘Already Naked’ (ooh-err) and ‘When I Gave Up on You’ wonderfully heartfelt and emotional; but it’s the album’s first single, ‘Long Time’ that stands out – penned in part by Deborah Harry herself, it would not be out of place for a second in a set with ‘Heart of Glass’, and in a world where audiences are chanting for the greatest hits, Blondie have in this one, a new addition to the canon.
You’d not expect something as ebullient and fun from the likes of a 71-year-old former disco-pop-rock diva. But these times are made to surprise us. Pollinator is a great album.