City Paper is not for tourists
A more appropriate title for this Blondie disc might be Deborah Harry: Remixed, Remade, Remodeled. Eleven dance-mixologists have dismantled eight Blondie hits (there are two versions each of “Dreaming,” “Heart of Glass,” and “Atomic”), generally preserving the singer’s voice while dumping Chris Stein et al. Only the Utah Saints Mix of “Dreaming,” an urgent melange of ricocheting boings and rapid percussion that sounds like sandblocks brushing together, lets slip a few samples of electric guitar—much to the track’s benefit. Harry’s crooning is incongruously set to a pared-down techno thump on the MK 12” Dance Mix of “Heart of Glass,” while the Richie Jones Club Mix of the same song more wisely eases into a pulsing beat, maintains the original’s tempo, and samples the 1978 version’s percolating percussion. An engaging “The Tide Is High” (Sand Dollar Mix) deliberately maintains the 1980 song’s tropical theme, losing the brass section but adding a steel drum and a flashy Latin piano riff—all electronic, of course. Purists will be aghast at a disjointed “One Way or Another” set to a threatening, sluggish beat and backed up by snips of the Eurythmics’ menacing “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”—not to mention the sped-up 108 BPM Mix of “Fade Away and Radiate” or the K-klassic Mix of “Rapture,” which jarringly sets Harry’s dubious rapping to a spare drum track. Such efforts to place Blondie in the 21st century seem forced; the band’s Top 40 forays were just bad-attitude disco, after all, and the DJs who acknowledge the late-’70s time-frame are responsible for the disc’s successes.