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?

Just stumbled upon this clip of Deb performing "Bike Boy" at the Roxy back in 1989 -- a concert at which my friend Mark was also in attendance, calling me from a lobby payphone to tell me that he was standing "2 feet away from Madonna, Warren Beatty and Sandra Bernhard!"

1 comment:

JimmyD said...

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