Friday, August 16, 2019

Song of the Day: 'I'll Never Fall in Love Again' by Debbie Harry

Whenever Damian and I watch old television shows, he always half-jokingly says, "What did people do at their desks before computers?" Having come of age in the 1990s, he's never worked when PCs weren't part of the equation -- which is why I say half joking. Most of my office jobs had computers of some sort too -- but I definitely was employed pre-internet, which is probably what he means more than anything. So what did I do before the World Wide Web came along to fill the gaps between answering phone calls or editing stories? I, not unlike Jane Wiedlin, was the quintessential girl of a hundred lists. It didn't matter if compiling them made sense or not -- seeing if I could remember off the top of my head every book I ever bought or every movie I ever saw or every vacation I ever took -- I'd sit there writing away.

I thought of this because I was texting back and forth about Debbie Harry with my DJ friend Taffy yesterday. He's been avoiding anything I've written about her memoir -- he doesn't want any spoilers -- but that didn't stop us from discussing her music, particularly her solo work. (I think he mentioned having read Seymour Stein's memoir and I asked if Deb came up as she was signed with him for a while.) It didn't take long before I got on my soap box about her first Sire album, "Def, Dumb & Blonde," which to many fans is her finest solo moment. (She reunited with Blondie producer Mike Chapman for a lot of it.) 

Taffy was singing its praises, but was quick to point out that it's not very "cohesive" -- before adding, "but you know how post-reunion Blondie is all over the place stylistically." (Indeed, I do. In fact, it was a welcome development on "Autoamerican," but has become almost formulaic as time went on; tiresome, in fact.) My other issue with "Def" is that it's entirely too long -- blame it on the advent of the CD -- which also made deciding what the "proper" album really consisted of difficult. And because of the aforementioned schizophrenia of it, I always felt it would have been better if it had been divided into two separate albums. Hardcore fans will recall her second Sire release, "Debravation," wound up with a "Producer's Cut," so why not?

Getting out my notepad, this is what I came up with:

"Dream Season"*

I Want That Man
Kiss It Better
Get Your Way
I'll Never Fall in Love 
Sweet and Low
Brite Side
Close Your Eyes**
Liar Liar

"Def, Dumb and Blonde":

Bike Boy
Maybe for Sure
He Is So
Comic Books
Forced to Live
End of the Run
Pet Sematary
Bonus: Foxy Lady (with Dee Dee Ramone)**

*This is said to be the original working title for "DD&B," supposedly dropped because of its similarity to Pat Benatar's "Wide Awake in Dreamland."

**Previously unreleased

I'd have released "Dream Season" -- her poppy followup to "Rockbird" -- in 1989 with "I'll Never Fall in Love" as the first single, and then the more punk-pop  "DD&B" the year after. (It would have been the perfect album on the Escape From New York tour with the Ramones and Tom Tom Club.)

Thoughts, suggestions, amendments?

1 comment:

JimmyD said...

You have the makings of a book about music from the 80's.
Consider it.

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