Top positive review
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40 Not Out
on 12 May 2014
Ghosts of Download is Blondie's tenth studio album, and is available in two configurations - both feature a disc of re-recorded greatest hits, whilst the deluxe edition also has a live DVD, featuring a concert recorded in 1977. The fact that the new album has been relegated to disc two on both releases (with the greatest hits featuring on disc one) might indicate a lack of faith in the new material - as has the fact that Ghosts of Download was originally announced for release at the end of 2013, with several release dates in early 2014 also missed.
This concern is largely misplaced, as Ghosts of Download is a bracing listen with a heavy electronic element and a number of guest performers such as Systema Solar, Miss Guy, Beth Ditto and Los Rakas who all add something new. But this is still very much a Blondie album, and Deborah Harry's unmistakable vocals are very much to the fore.
Stand-out tracks include the rocking "A Rose By Any Name" and "Mile High", whilst the driving beat of "Take It Back" is another highlight. Along the way they also throw in a cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax" for good measure.
An eclectic mix then, but it's never dull and whilst the singles are unlikely to trouble the top end of the charts, there's much to enjoy here.
There's no particular surprises with the new recordings of the greatest hits - they are very efficient xeroxes of the originals. Presumably this has been done so that they can licence these recordings (for advertising, etc) in the future - as like many bands they no longer have control over their back catalogue. Whatever the reason, it's a good CD which highlights the fact that Harry's vocals haven't really changed that much over the last four decades. And whilst they are unlikely to supplant the originals in anyone's affection, unlike some other artist's re-recordings of their greatest hits at least they aren't embarrassing.
Overall then, Blondie 4(0)-Ever is a solid collection of new and old songs that is well worth a listen.