Friday, April 15, 2016

Song of the Day: 'Close Your Eyes' by Debbie Harry

Today's song is a nice "Def, Dumb & Blonde" outtake that rivals just about anything on the "official" album. 

I've always had an awkward relationship with that release, which is considered by most to be her best solo effort. Looking back, I see it as the harbinger to what's wrong with most albums nowadays -- too many songs and too many versions. ((The LP, cassette and CD all had different line-ups!) Like last year's "Rebel Heart," if I could pick and choose which songs were on "Def," I'd agree it was her best. But to be honest, I'm not even really sure what really counts as being on it seeing as 1989 was right on the edge of compact discs replacing records and cassettes. What I do know is my favorite song is "I'll Never Fall in Love," and it was only on the CD, so I kind of always didn't "count" it. (Groan.) The single "I Want That Man" and "Kiss It Better" -- which were collaborations with the Thompson Twins -- were cute enough. But both felt out of place with the rest of the album, which was considered a return to form echoing the early days of Blondie -- or not, depending on which songs you count. 

"Comic Books." "Bike Boy" and "Forced to Live" were fan favorites because of their punk sensibility, yet all three were bonus tracks of sorts. If it had been up to me, these would have been the focus of the album. And "End of the Run" was an epic song of Shangri-Las proportion, but it too was only included on certain versions. If you wanted to say "Just count all of the songs as being The Album" -- which would be a reasonable way to look at things now, and there's no reason she couldn't have poppier and punkier songs on one release -- then I'd say the album is way too f**king long. "Parallel Lines" was 12 songs running 32 minutes and this one's 15 songs running over an hour!. Don't get me wrong: "Def, Dumb & Blonde" is good. But it isn't even half as good as "Parallel Lines," so doesn't need to be twice as long. A little editing would have gone a long way with this one. But unfortunately, the versions that were "edits" definitely winnowed in the wrong direction. 

P.S. All of this bitching kind of obscures the fact that the first time I saw Debbie live was on the tour supporting "Def, Dumb & Blondie," at a dive bar in Tempe, Arizona, back in 1989, after having missed my chance to see Blondie on "The Hunter" tour at Pine Knob in Detroit back in '82. (My brother Bill went and got me merchandise.) When I finally saw Debbie, she was flawless!

1 comment:

Taffy said...

wow - this song is a new one to my ears. i like it.
and like you, Kenneth baby, i somehow missed out seeing Blondie the first time around, and so first got a live glimpse of Debbie on the DD&B tour when it hit Boston. and it was divine.