ice - January 1999 - Issue 142
THE CD NEWS AUTHORITY
Pages 1 & 12
BLONDIE, PAUL WESTERBERG RESURFACE WITH NEW ALBUMS ON FEBRUARY 23
TWO ICONS OF '80s ROCK, Blondie and Paul Westerberg, have both set February 23 as the release date for their albums. For Blondie, it marks their first record in more than 16 years - since they bowed out with The Hunter in 1982 - while Westerberg's last solo effort, Eventually, came out in 1996.
Arguably the most commercially successful group of the late-'70s New Wave scene, Blondie has acrimoniously shed a couple of members and now consists of the core group of Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, Jimmy Destri and Clem Burke. The new album, on Beyond Records, was produced by long-time associate Craig Leon, who started as a remix engineer on their debut album (1976's Blondie) and also produced the first Ramones album.
No Exit's track list, in order: "Screaming Skin," "Forgive and Forget," "Maria," "No Exit," "Double Take," "Nothing Is Real But The Girl," "Boom Boom in the Zoom Zoom Room," "Night Wind Sent," "Under the Gun," "Out in the Streets," "Happy Dog (For Caggy)," "The Dream's Lost On Me," "Divine" and "Dig Up the Conjo."
The 1999 version of Blondie finds the band in territory not far removed from their early-'80s hey-day. "Maria" could be a cousin to Eat to the Beat's "Dreaming," while the title track, a duet between Harry and Coolio, incorporates the hard-edged style of some of today's rap with the classic Blondie sound. The lounge-tinged "Boom Boom in the Zoom Zoom Room" pairs Harry with her sometimes-collaborators The Jazz Passengers for a cool, jazz-inflected romp that should please fans of the new swing movement.
The band plan a tour in support of No Exit with bassist Leigh Foxx and guitarist Paul Carbonara replacing Nigel Harrison and Frank Infante, who were not invited to participate in the reunion. After that, only time will tell if the comeback will last. Stein recently told the Los Angeles Times, "If this album is successful, I'm sure we'll put out another one."