Customer Review

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 40 Not Out, 12 May 2014
This review is from: Blondie 4(0)-Ever: Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux / Ghosts Of Download (Audio CD)
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.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 May 2014 20:26:16 BDT
I don't think it was a lack of faith, I think that they felt the need to piggyback it onto the redux in order to get the US audience to notice it. Sadly, we have not been too good to Blondie over on this side of the pond. After the scathing reviews for 'No Exit', the industry dumped them. Sad, because I love the 'No Exit' album. 'Panic of Girls' barely even got noticed over here, with the exception of us diehard fans. I completely understand their decision. The wait has been somewhat annoying, even now it's a two week delay here in the US for the hard copy. That being said, I think 'Ghosts' is quite good. Their decisions on the singles they chose to release is questionable because there are a few that would have done really well here if there was any support for their music. Part of the problem is that here in the US, almost every radio station is owned by three corporations, 'Clear Channel' being the most vile of the lot. It is almost impossible to get airplay here unless the band or performer is big-name, or one of the chosen few,and I do mean few, newcomers who they allow into the marketplace and onto the airwaves. oh. I just went on a ramble. Pardon ;)

In reply to an earlier post on 14 May 2014 17:38:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 May 2014 17:39:23 BDT
Interesting ramble though :)

In various interviews the band has given in the past, it seems they felt that even during their peak commercial years they were more popular and accepted in the UK than they were in the US. They never had a US No 1 album, but had several in the UK and singles-wise they had a consistent run of UK Top 10 singles while their US performances were more patchy.

Maybe not quite a level playing field, as the UK is a smaller market, but it does seem to indicate they've sometimes struggled in the US, compared to other markets.

It's interesting that possibly the lack of airplay was the reason that they made the whole albums available to be streamed before the release date from various sources - Rolling Stone, The Guardian. That's one way that a band can circumvent not getting radio play, I guess.

Posted on 14 May 2014 18:20:59 BDT
US radio is tough on all acts unless they are pushed by a record company and approved by an evil corporation called "Clear Channel" who pretty much refuses to play anyone over the age of 25 on pop radio stations. "No Exit" got pretty terrific reviews in the US, the best overall of the 3 comeback albums but the radio barely touched "Maria". I find it very interesting how BLONDIE is working around these obstacles to get their music some attention - they remain a much-loved group but unless you're "on the lookout" their releases can pass you right by.
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