14
Sep 14

BLONDIE – “Maria”

Popular85 comments • 9,177 views

#815, 13th February 1999

blondmaria Whatever Jimmy Destri meant when he wrote “Maria”, it isn’t a song about a woman: it’s a song about men’s reaction to women – lust, fantasy, resentment, projection and ultimately psychosis. Debbie Harry – the most gazed-upon pop star of her era – diagnoses the problem as succinctly as anyone has: “Don’t you want to break her? Don’t you want to take her home?” She sounds suitably withering, singing as someone who well knows that the two impulses are not often separable.

A song of experience, then, turning a spotlight onto the moment where their sense of entitlement drives men mad. Not a bad idea for a Blondie comeback, and reaction to the record proved the point. Blondie was – still – a group, but much of the commentary began with lip-smacking judgements on whether Harry had stayed hot.

A more rewarding question: how well had the sound aged? “Maria” took the group back to its new wave roots – a mild disappointment from the start, as Blondie had been one of the bands who most startlingly worked out how a group could sustain an identity through consistent attitude, not consistent sound, and jump from style to style while still being themselves. But perhaps that was unfair criticism: “Maria”’s parent album, No Exit, had plenty of experiments in genre, and revival itself was still an unusual move for a band of Blondie’s era. “Maria” was one of the surprise hits of its time just for existing – people didn’t seem to mind that the music played it a little safe.

New wave had been an economical music – trimming instrumental fat to better put a spotlight on its crisply defined personalities. That kind of economy can segue naturally into classicism – “Maria” feels not so much a throwback as an attempted escape into a kind of CBGBs theme park, where the guitars and cheekbones and put-downs are all as sharp as each other. In the 00s, that kind of cool would make a deliberate comeback in the hands of younger groups. For now, “Maria” can’t quite get there. It feels heavy, both effortful and prone to making sloppy errors (for instance – the unnecessary double-up of “Go insane and out of your mind”, which grates just as much as when I first heard it). And it’s long: three minutes of taut ideas puffed into five. For all the stiletto twists of Harry’s performance, Blondie sound a little ring-rusty, a touch flabby. It hobbles “Maria”, never letting it break away from the easy condescension of “nice to have you back”.

5

Comments

  1. 1
    AMZ1981 on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Firstly the stats – with Maria Blondie set a new record that (I think) holds to this day. It was eighteen years since their last chart topper, marking the longest gap by an act who returned to the top with a newly recorded song (although I hasten to add that after duetting with her husband Cher had to wait twenty five years to do so in her own right).

    I thought Maria was a great pop song at the time and, now fifteen years old itself and seperated from its context, it holds up well. Interestingly the comeback album No Exit was patchy but the far superior follow ups (The Curse Of Blondie in 2002 and Panic Of Girls in 2011) failed to interest the record buying public. While the four chart toppers that preceded this were very much of their era I think it’s safe to say Maria could and would have been a hit anytime prior to the start of the download era. It’s not quite up there with Blondie’s best but given that, remixes aside, their last significant hit was Island Of Lost Souls – hardly their worst either.

  2. 2
    Andrew Farrell on 14 Sep 2014 #

    I don’t think of this sound as particularly new-wavish (or indeed Blondieish), though that may well be just ignorance on my part: it seems to be very rockish, with something contrary to new wave’s sterility – possibly country (or the countriest bits of rock)? Something about the shuffle of the drums, or that guitar piece (again ignorance prevents me from specifying) that first appears beneath the first “insane and out of your mind”.

    “Walking on imported air” is still a great line, though.

  3. 3
    Tom on 14 Sep 2014 #

    It is a great line, so great he had apparently used it already on a 1980 album track and recycled it :)

  4. 4
    Tom on 14 Sep 2014 #

    I see your point about rock – I think perhaps its close proximity to the next entry leads me to downweight the rock elements, comparatively speaking. But new wave wasn’t really NOT rock music.

  5. 5
    sukrat unlogged and w/o qualification on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Dispatch from the taste-barriers of long ago: I think the only thing I’d say was a lot uncharacteristic of “new wave” (in the US sense) is the actual real longform (non-Fripp) guitar solo at c.3.20? The neo-rockabilly crack of the beat and the Duane-Eddy-as-a-krautrock-robot riffing prior to that were not uncommon — not enough to mark it out as out of step anyway — and while the sound-layering was by now also being introduced into 80s rock, this didn’t stop it being a new wave thing. Boston and Foreigner aren’t NOT “new wavey” :D

  6. 6
    punctum on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Watching the BBC’s Omnibus documentary on Blondie a few years ago was a sobering and slightly dispiriting experience since Debbie Harry made absolutely no bones about the group’s less than neat dissolution in 1982 and the awful afterlife. The initial split coincided with, and may have been partially provoked by, Chris Stein’s prolonged and debilitating illness; when Harry checked the group’s accounts as preparation for taking a long-term sabbatical to look after him she was horrified to find that she and Stein were close to broke; ripped off by a manager they were too scared/couldn’t afford to fire, practically none of the royalties due them had come their way or had been siphoned off elsewhere. Thus began a long and weary course of legal action and concomitant penury; in the documentary Harry betrays nuances of years unspeakable in their quietened horror. Upon Stein’s recovery in 1985 Harry essentially worked to assignment for the best part of the following decade, quietly building up a parallel reputation as a film actress, issuing occasional, modestly successful solo records (Rockbird, Def Dumb And Blonde) with an eye on the bills and a heart not in it, and venturing out to do what she really wanted, as long-term vocalist with the Jazz Passengers.

    Eventually the legal battles were won and the royalties finally reached their intended pockets; furthermore, regular compilations and reissues kept the Blondie name buoyant, not to mention the band and Harry in particular being repeatedly cited as an inspiration by seemingly every indie group with a feisty female lead singer. Towards the end of the nineties Harry, Stein, Clem Burke and Jimmy Destri, now feeling up for it again, opted to regroup under the Blondie name and a new album was recorded. “Maria” was its lead single, and if there were ever more uncomplicated and genuine goodwill bestowed on any pop artist’s comeback record I must have missed it. Twenty years after “Heart Of Glass” and just over eighteen years after their last number one, they were back – and the magic and relief are evident in every second of the single.

    Debbie was by now fifty-three, and so Cher ’s record as the oldest female artist to reach number one was very shortlived indeed – but both triumphs were richly deserved. Her voice was now slightly deeper and more lived in but its fluidity and flexibility were as evident as ever; note the six different meanings she can produce from the expression “ooh” throughout the song – her “ooh, it makes you wanna die” bears an innate sensuality which is more than merely admirable and her fainting “fool” in the phrase “Fool for love” is the kind of element which defies any art of timing. Although some of the song refers back to previous Blondie works – it wasn’t the first time she’d used the expression “walking on imported air” for instance – its undiminished rush is irresistible; the old parable of sex magnet as object of worship (“Latina! Ave Maria!/A million and one candlelights!”) is beautifully wrought (the counterbalancing “Go insane and out of your mind”) with all their best elements intact; the descending peal of bells on the second chorus onwards, the fancy drum fill which Clem can’t resist inserting into the fadeout. The girl had reclaimed her power. Eight candlelights, more yellow than blue

  7. 7
    Ed on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Sukrat is right that by 1980-ish all rock was New Wave(y), even Rush and Yes.

    But I know what Andrew means about Maria not quite capturing the Spirit of 1978. It may be the acoustic guitar low in the mix, or the unnecessary (synth?) harmonica, but mostly it’s just a hard-to-define lack of urgency, in the rhythm section, the guitar and the vocals.

    Regardless of what teenagers might think, the gap between 33 and 28 (Harry’s and Stein’s ages at the time of Parallel Lines) and 53 and 49 is quite a big one. Particularly given the harrowing experiences in the intervening years detailed by Punctum.

  8. 8
    lonepilgrim on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Debbie Harry sounds a lot (more) like Patti Smith (from Gone Again) on this song – partly the texture of her voice, partly the denser production. The song falls between two stools – not as poppy as previous hits but not as rock-y as, for instance, Patti. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. At times, in memory, I like this – but when I’m actually listening to it I drift off a bit

  9. 9
    Shiny Dave on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Always heard Debbie’s voice in this as oddly androgynous – half of me is wondering if that actually works for the best, making it oddly possible to imagine her own voice as representing the gazer rather than the object of gaze.

    Tom’s right to point out the lyrical clunker in the chorus, but it’s a heck of a hook nonetheless, and with those descending bells it frankly surprises me this didn’t come out a couple of months earlier. Might it have deprived the Spices of a third straight Crimbo chart-topper if it had?

    A whole lot more memorable than “Goodbye,” and while the review tempts me down, gut instinct wins out – this is a song I genuinely enjoy returning to. 8.

  10. 10
    23 Daves on 14 Sep 2014 #

    I clearly remember a few of my friends loudly celebrating the fact that this got to number one, but that was all their conversations consisted of. There was no “Blondie are back at number one! And it’s with an amazing track! And here’s why it’s amazing!” It was more like: “Blondie are back at number one! And this is just and right and proper, and why would anyone ask for anything else?” The song itself barely got mentioned.

    And I don’t dislike “Maria”, I just felt then – and feel now – that it’s not the comeback single dreams are made of. It’s slightly overworked and weary sounding, and while the weariness helps certain parts of the lyrics, there’s something faintly dispiriting about it all. What should have been a great moment, or at least a close scrape towards one, sounds largely ordinary instead. It’s a good enough pop song, but had Sleeper or any of the other Blondie-inspired Britpoppers released it a year-and-a-half before, you can’t help but think that it wouldn’t have prevented their labels from dropping them (and that’s not such a silly comparison, as Sleeper were already attempting to take a more adult orientated pop-rock direction at that point in a bid to survive).

    A probable 6 from me. Annoying, as it’s one of those tracks that, with a bit more spice or grit inside it, I could easily imagine having turned out a lot better.

  11. 11
    swanstep on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Hate the bells in the 2nd Chorus and after. The accordion/keyboard (?) part that enters in the Middle 8 isn’t much chop either. Minor points perhaps but for me they’re emblematic of the whole feeling undercooked writing-, production-, and performance-wise. E.g. 3., Clem Burke’s one of my favourite drummers but here he’s just time-keeping and occupying a lot of space on the record without anything to say (‘Dreaming’ it ain’t). Lyrics are pretty bad – ‘Cool as air’ (the air in NYC is anything but refreshing a lot of the time!), ‘She’s oceans running down the drain/Blue as ice and desire’ (What? And this is a Latina? Really? And this water imagery fights with the fire and candlelights imagery in the song… ). Anyhow, if the melodies were stronger and the arrangement better I probably wouldn’t notice the underdone lyrics so much, but as it stands, for me ‘Maria’ is a puzzling #1 and only deserving of a:
    3 or 4

  12. 12
    thefatgit on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Yay! Blondie are back. And I guess if you wanted to believe they had stayed true to their roots, then “Maria” sounds a little like “Sunday Girl” albeit squeezed through a Travelling Willburys sponge. However, it’s an rock song with a killer hook that you can hum along to, so little wonder it got to the top. Not necessarily a song that’s only propelled to the top on a wave of goodwill, but a decent song with a subtle critique on male gaze, as Tom pointed out. It had nothing at all to do with anything I was listening to in 1999, but that didn’t matter because it felt like meeting an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. “No Exit” was something of a disappointment though.(6)

  13. 13
    Tom on 14 Sep 2014 #

    #10 I think it’s absolutely true to say this is a record where the idea of it being number one helped it get to number one – in a soft sales season too, as we’ve pointed out of other records in this run. But that’s true of an awful lot of songs – many worse than “Maria”, some better.

    I think there was something resonant about Blondie specifically coming back, too (not necessarily positively resonant). From their own perspective, as Punctum’s excellent comment points out, it was a case of unfinished business. But externally it seemed like the latest evolution of pop’s relationship with its own past. The boomer contribution to pop was the idea that it would last (“It will stand”), that being into rock music was a lifelong calling. And subsequent to that there’s been a sequence of comings-to-terms with the idea that this is something every generation now does – a proportion of them are stuck forever to the music of their youth (and a little pre- and post-). That accounts for the sense among some fans – which 23 Daves noticed and which I noticed too – of rightness restored to the world with Blondie back at the top.

    Subsequent inter-generational tensions over rock have been about boomer exceptionalism, mainly – do they still like 60s music because 60s music was better, or were they simply the first generation whose sense that this stuff was NOT in fact ephemeral was fully serviced by technology and the market? Each layer of new adults tips the balance more towards the latter. Recurrent minor or major “victory moments” for a particular strata – like Blondie at #1, or the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony – are further confirmation.

  14. 14
    Tommy Mack on 14 Sep 2014 #

    5 is bang on. Nothing objectionable but it’d never make it onto a Blondie mix tape.

    Terrible video too.

  15. 15
    23 Daves on 14 Sep 2014 #

    #14 Yes, I had another look at the video earlier and couldn’t help but think it was poor. Parts of it look like the shaky, low-budget “single dubbed over live performance footage” vids unsigned or very minor league bands put together for YouTube. Somebody could surely have paid for something better than that? Or maybe video expenses were coming out of the band’s pockets, and they were extremely keen not to get stung again…

  16. 16
    Cumbrian on 14 Sep 2014 #

    As the last thrashings of Britpop played out and bands started losing record deals, along come Blondie to show everyone how it is done, without seemingly putting loads of effort in either. I’d agree with 23 Daves that Maria done by Sleeper would not have saved their record deal – but that would be because one swallow does not a summer make. Blondie are a better proposition in all respects and something tossed off as a half remembrance of their heyday knocks everything Sleeper ever released into a cocked hat, I would say. Releasing something like this might have given them a short stay of execution until everyone twigged on that they had nothing else of this quality in their locker.

    This is a touch too long, could definitely do with a bit of flab cut out of it – but otherwise has a load of decent hooks. I remember this getting to #1 and being really happy about it (I’d have been 17) not because of it being Blondie – I didn’t own a record by them at this point and only really knew Heart of Glass – but because it was better than most of the other rock records that had graced the upper reaches of the charts for a while. For me, it was not about what it was up against in Blondie’s history but what it was up against from the guitar rock scene in the UK at this time – which was, frankly, grim.

    #7: Careful with the absolute statements there. By 1980 all rock was New Wave(y)? Back In Black? Blizzard of Ozz? Making Movies? Hawks and Doves? (though Neil Young would eventually go new wave enough to be sued by Geffen, so this is a timing thing rather than an attitude thing). Not hearing too many (i.e. any) new wave elements in The River either (mostly built on 60s garage rock and soul/Motown ideas – with some pointers towards the sad sack stuff on Nebraska).

  17. 17
    mapman132 on 14 Sep 2014 #

    I believe it’s been mentioned in distant past threads, but Blondie has a very strange chart history in the US: four number ones, no other Top 20 hits (next biggest: “One Way or Another” at #24). I thought “Maria” might be the record to break the “curse”, but alas, it got no further than #82 on the Hot 100.

    A bit surprised Tom graded this so low. It’s not as good as their heyday, but certainly better to me than most of what else was around in 1999. So I’m probably grading on a curve here but 8/10 from me. A lot of good points though about the success of this record being more about the idea of a comeback rather than a true comeback. Notable the comeback appeared to fizzle out pretty quickly on the UK chart, let alone the US where it never really got going in the first place.

  18. 18
    chelovek na lune on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Rather less than the sum of its parts if you ask me. The goodwill towards Blondie’s return was understandable and welcome, but really the song – despite a couple of soaring lines – really doesn’t cut it. In places it sounds tired – more tired that it really ought (lest one starts thinking of “Union City Blue” with a free bus pass), and doesn’t excite or develop as it could or should. It seems a bit half-formed, even.

    Yeah. there’s something there, for sure – but what is equally sure is that, as well as not being a patch on most of Blondie’s earlier material (I am well prepared to defend “Island Of Lost Souls” btw), it’s also not a patch on a fair bit of Debbie (Deborah) Harry’s solo stuff – “I Want That Man” puts this completely in the shade. “Here comes the 21st century. It’s gonna be a lot better for a girl like me”. Well, perhaps…

    4 would a be a bit mean, but going higher than 5 would be too generous. Unfortunately.

  19. 19
    James BC on 14 Sep 2014 #

    It’s quite instructive to imagine this performed by one of the Britpop lot. In particular it drives home how strong Debbie Harry’s vocal is – she’s on imperious form here and the only Britpop-era singer who could touch her is, I suppose, Liam Gallagher, though his talent is a very different one. The guitar playing and drumming are pretty good too; I saw Blondie live a few years ago and that really drove home what a great *band* they are. Sometimes musicianship and vocal talent are important after all.

  20. 20
    iconoclast on 14 Sep 2014 #

    And nobody’s yet noticed that the tritone leap in the title was pinched from the song of the same name in “West Side Story”? Young people today, I don’t know. Grumble, grumble. Anyway, isn’t it great to hear something which actually sounds like it was made by actual human beings? It’s not Blondie’s best, for sure – it sounds like they’re going through the motions in some places – but it’s a hell of a lot better than most of the chart-toppers we’ve had for a very long time. With a bit more care it could have earned one or two extra marks, but most welcome all the same. SEVEN.

  21. 21
    Hugh on 14 Sep 2014 #

    Maria is a really bad song, it’s really really corny: the keyboard; “you gotta see her”; the guitar refrain in the chorus; all the “ooohs” and pun on the “ooohs” (“blooooue as ice, and desire” bleurgh).

    It was played every morning on the school bus for about a month, on Chiltern FM by Andy Gelder and The Morning Crew.

    2/10

  22. 22
    Alfred on 14 Sep 2014 #

    I loved this song. After several years of binging on Eat to the Beat and Parallel lines, Blondie returned with a Debbie Harry performance worthy of them. I do agree it sounds underwritten: it needs another verse — at any rate a better second verse — and more imagination with the arrangements, but still, an easy 7/10.

    How do y’all rate No Exit? A couple of grisly moments aside, it sounds to my ears damn vital. “Nothing is Real But the Girl,” “Double Take,” and “Under the Gun” would’ve made the top ten in the seventies.

  23. 23
    Alfred on 14 Sep 2014 #

    btw if you want to see a ripping live performance watch me perform “I Want That Man” at karaoke.

  24. 24
    Alan on 15 Sep 2014 #

    I think I must have been supremely grumpy with chart #1s at this point (tho I loved Praise You, hmm). As a kid whose first pop love was around 78-79, and nearer this time, very much into ver dancing’ music, oddly I wasn’t keen on either the previous Van Helden or this, what could have been an amazing, come back. (Has nobody really mentioned French Kissin’ in the USA yet?*). Obviously there was wider goodwill being had here, taking it to the top, but I wasn’t including myself in it. Nor could it have lived up to my atavistic proto-pop fan memory. 4 on a good day.

    * Not technically “Blondie”, obv

  25. 25
    Phil on 15 Sep 2014 #

    I’m a solid 6 on this one – your 5 seems stingy, but 7 would be generous and 8 would be absurd.

    Other than that, I’m still struggling to comprehend that Blondie’s comeback album was fifteen years ago. Something like the trouble I have (although this may just be me) reconciling the grownup-but-stylish cover images on ‘recent’ albums by Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore with contemporary pictures of the guys (still distinguished in both cases, but greyer-haired, fuller-figured and, basically, old).

    15-20 years isn’t that long, is it? Feels like yesterday when I was listening to the Charlatans…

  26. 26
    sid on 15 Sep 2014 #

    I might be the only person here more familiar with the Korean version of this. It was the on-screen ‘debut single’ for the central character in a fat-girl-gets-thin music business comedy called 200 Pounds Beauty. Those who find the original ‘Maria’ a bit stodgy and middle-aged may enjoy the cover, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend watching the whole film unless you have a particular liking for weight-based humour. Kim Ah Joong is the actress/singer.

    Living in Seoul at the time (2006) I can tell you that the film was a big hit and the song absolutely inescapable for months, so when I hear the Blondie original now it has the not unpleasant feel of a country-rock band covering a chart pop song. 7.

  27. 27
    MikeMCSG on 15 Sep 2014 #

    It should be mentioned that this “Blondie” was only two-thirds of the classic line-up, missing bassist Nigel Harrison who was too comfortable in his A & R role and erratic guitarist Frank Infante who remained beyond the pale, so it’s not too surprising it doesn’t quite get there. Later records would be made with only three of them when Destri’s continued drug use became too much of a problem.

  28. 28
    JLucas on 15 Sep 2014 #

    I think the difference between this as a Blondie record as opposed to one by an act like Sleeper, or even someone like Bryan Adams – who I could imagine having a hit with the song – is that it’s a real Star Performance by Deborah Harry. It’s not just nostalgia, I had only the faintest awareness of Blondie’s legacy in 1999 but what I picked up on was how imperious and commanding her vocal was. There’s a certain insouciance to her delivery on the classic Blondie hits that’s hardened into a lived-in, faintly cynical middle age, lending gravitas to what could have been a fairly trifling song.

    That said, it’s not a depressing performance by any means. She’s more teasing than contemptuous on the verse. She sees through the subject’s bullshit, but there’s affection there too. I interpret it as being addressed at a middle-aged man on the cusp of a possibly ill-advised love affair, probably with someone a fair bit younger. In any event it’s a great contrast to the chorus, which she really throws herself into. The overall effect may not be as iconic as Heart of Glass or Rapture, but it’s quite euphoric.

    9

  29. 29
    Patrick Mexico on 15 Sep 2014 #

    My first experience of Blondie topping the charts, rather than many Popular regulars’ last. In a horrible nuclear winter of having to finally leave Bowland High and weeks of limbo trying to get into a new school (and at times it was unlikely to be a mainstream one), discovering perhaps the most iconic and commanding frontwoman of all time from an infinitely more vital, exotic era was most welcome.

    Though on Top of the Pops, my dad said she “looked like someone’s mum”, whatever that means. Sigh. Those country guitar licks are straight outta Footloose, and the title track on No Exit, featuring Coolio, is too close to this for my liking:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jwsE_jeh3k

    Still, that chorus. 7.

  30. 30
    Andrew Farrell on 15 Sep 2014 #

    Footloose, yes! That’s what I was poorly trying to describe.

  31. 31
    Patrick Mexico on 15 Sep 2014 #

    Footloose is still a big tune at a thousand student “cheese” nights.

    But imagine a 1990 where people talked more about Cop Rock than the Simpsons or Goodfellas.

  32. 32
    Alfred on 15 Sep 2014 #

    JLUCAS otm about Harry’s vocal.

  33. 33
    23 Daves on 15 Sep 2014 #

    It’s a funny one, this. Ever since we’ve started talking about it I’ve had the chorus stuck in my head, but when I revisit the song itself it always sounds flabbier and less urgent than the version I’ve got in my mind. The last time this happened was when we discussed “Sleeping Satellite” (although I think that’s probably all both songs have in common). I’ll concede that Harry’s vocal is on form, but the band sound as if they’re tired and going through the hundredth take that day.

    As I brought up Sleeper and this thread seems to be dying down (so I can’t be accused of diverting it) I may as well say that I thought their rather more adult orientated comeback single “She’s A Good Girl” was actually a treat. Far too subtle to work as the first single out of the traps after some time spent away, but it slowly unravels its charms across a number of listens. Of course, the follow-up “Romeo Me” was by-numbers rubbish so I never did investigate their final album “Pleased To Meet You”.

    A strange band, Sleeper. Mostly not worth the bother, but every so often they did surprise you.

  34. 34
    Martin F. on 15 Sep 2014 #

    Verses always remind me of Martina McBride’s “Wild Angels”. Cracking chorus, obviously.

  35. 35
    tm on 16 Sep 2014 #

    #2, #4, #5: wasn’t it the co-opting of punk aesthetics by new wave and the co-opting of new wave by the rock mainstream that gave rise to hardcore in the US: a new punker-than-punk punk that Huey Lewis and Tom Petty couldn’t get their mitts on? That and straight edge reacting against the macho drinking culture creeping into punk?

  36. 36
    tm on 16 Sep 2014 #

    #32: I had the NME free tape with She’s A Good Girl on it. I must say I was pretty disappointed even after a dozen or so plays. Mind you, I liked the Embrace and Travis songs on it at the time so I’m not going to say my judgement was infallible!

    Generally agree with you on Sleeper. Louise Wener was a great songwriter on her day but for the most part, the band were only competent: the Sleeperbloke tag was undoubtedly sexist but the truth is they were mediocre, uncharismatic musicians behind a talented singer/writer, the gender divide merely served to highlight this. Only occasionally, like on Statuesque do they shine as a band rather than just a backing group.

  37. 37
    will on 16 Sep 2014 #

    I know a few people who rate this highly but it’s never done it for me.

    The obvious rhymes..the accordian…the bells in the chorus. For a band that always had an assured sense of their own cool, it’s a very uncool record and that reason alone – whilst it was pleasing to see them back at Number One – I’ve always felt slightly irked by its presence.

  38. 38
    Ed on 16 Sep 2014 #

    @16 I was going to concede the point, given your examples, but then I thought about it….

    Making Movies is totally New Wave, for a start. I always thought of Dire Straits as starting out like a mild-mannered English Television. Knopfler is post-Dylan, in the same way that Tom Petty is, and we count Tom Petty as New Wave, surely? Knopfler also has a massive Lou Reed thing going on, and it doesn’t get much more New Wave than that.

    Hawks and Doves I don’t know, but as you say, Young was about to make the greatest “Old Wave into New Wave” move of all time. So if he wasn’t quite there yet, he was definitely on his way. (If you haven’t seen it, BTW, you must check out the fantastic 1982 ‘Computer Age’ clip on YouTube. It’s a cracker.)

    Springsteen is a marginal case, I admit, but I always think of his rock classicism as being similar to the Ramones’. And he was big on the New Wave scene, working with Patti Smith and Lou Reed (again). ‘Darkness’ is a totally New Wave album, I think.

    As for Blizzard of Ozz, I don’t know this for a fact, but I would guess that band was influenced by the New Wave (of British Heavy Metal.) I can hear Judas Priest, and probably Motörhead, in the faster tempos and some of the riffs. And NWOBHM was definitely post-punk.

    As for AC/DC, I admit they are sui generis, but I always thought there was something punk rock about them, right from ‘Dirty Deeds’ onwards. Their virtues of concision, aggression and rhythmic attack are certainly more post-punk than they are prog. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that the late 70s were when they started to become huge. Someone (Punctum?) has a great line about Van Halen being what suburban America had instead of punk. In my part of suburban England, AC/DC was what we had instead of punk.

  39. 39
    James BC on 16 Sep 2014 #

    I think it’s a harmonica, not an accordion. If it is an accordion, it must be one of very few number 1s to use one.

  40. 40
    enitharmon on 16 Sep 2014 #

    #35 Is there a barbed-wire fence separating Punk from New Wave from Rock from all the other little musical niches? I’d have thought they all influenced each other. But then the whole idea of ghettoising subtly differing musical styles seems bizarre to me, growing up as I did in the 60s/early 70s when such distinctions were vague and fuzzy where they existed before.

  41. 41
    weej on 16 Sep 2014 #

    Not sure whether to pigeonhole this as a fanbase single or a successful appeal to radio 2 listeners, either way it seems inoffensive enough, just not for me. Debbie’s voice has dropped a full octave, but she’s still got it in her to put in a performance that reminds you why she got here in the first place – something valuable in that of course, and in stark contract to (for example) Love Can Build A Bridge. However, the production just sounds like they’ve set the controls for mainstream rock and left it on autopilot, and there’s consequently little for me to get my teeth into.

    On sleeper: Yes, of course Wener was the one with the talent there, but their fatal flaw was more that they imagined themselves as the wrong kind of group – after a couple of nice, odd little singles they created an anthem with ‘Inbetweener’ and then spent the rest of their career trying to make these upbeat indie-pop songs which sounded increasingly forulaic and which tested her voice’s very narrow range way past its breaking point. They also did this very odd thing of putting all their interesting new ideas into ten-second intros for their singles, then plodding through the same old mulch for the rest of the four minutes.

  42. 42
    tm on 16 Sep 2014 #

    No there isn’t as the influence of one on the other demonstrates but the punks who broke away to birth hardcore clearly thought there should have been. Or at least that there should be a barbed wire fence protecting punk’s purity from trad rock’s commerce and hedonism. Not my opinion at all but clearly it rankled enough with enough people for them to develop their music into harder faster forms, set in opposition to the pop classicism of Blondie or The Ramones.

    Add to this also that a lot of the early hardcore bands were 10+ years younger than the first punks and you can see why they might see trad punk as old hat along with trad rock.

    I think I’m right in saying this was a US thing: that in the UK, Oi was more of a reaction against what was seen as the over-intellectualisation of post-punk music. Obv. I wasn’t there at the time so just what I’ve read and heard really.

  43. 43
    Tom on 16 Sep 2014 #

    If this is the thread where we talk about Britpop’s female-fronted bands (TM), one of the things I realised listening back over 90s NOW albums is how good Catatonia’s stuff was, especially from the POV of vocal performances carrying so-so bands – even the very corny “Mulder & Scully” seems about 100 times more ambitious than anything Sleeper managed. Britpop’s most underrated vocalist? Never taken seriously because a) the accent and b) a late arrival.

  44. 44
    Cumbrian on 16 Sep 2014 #

    #38: Obviously I disagree – I doubt I will be able to change your mind but, hey, this whole thing is nitpicking so what’s to lose by wasting a few more words on such ephemera?

    Leaving to one side whether Lou Reed is new wave or not (and I think it seriously stretches the usefulness of the genre label to say that he is) and whether Tom Petty is post-Dylan in the same way as Mark Knopfler is, I’d say the question is not whether Dire Straits were somehow New Wave. The question is – referring to the idea that all rock is new wave by 1980 – “Does Making Movies (1980) sound New Wave?”. I don’t think it does – at all. It sounds like Born To Run era Springsteen in its best moments (Tunnel of Love, Romeo & Juliet, Skateaway), lumpen pub rock when mediocre (Solid Rock) and terrible homophobic country/folk at its absolute nadir (Les Boys). But not really new wavey – more trad rock classicism I would say.

    Hawks and Doves is, I admit now, a total fucking cheat of an album to chuck in there (I’m sorry, I’m a bad man), as it’s releases of stuff that was meant to come out in 1975 and is totally Neil Young in Laurel Canyon country-mode. Still, big rock artist, released in 1980, not New Wave.

    I don’t think hanging around with different artists and being big in a particular scene equates to being of that scene. If it were, I’d have to concede that The Stone Roses were some sort of acid house band, when the vast majority of that album is late-60s jangle and psychedelia, even if ravers loved it when it came out and there’s a freak out section in I Am The Resurrection. So, for Springsteen, I again come back to what the album sounds like – and I’m still on the side of it not sounding new wavey, even if he was going to give Hungry Heart to The Ramones and thought better of it (and HH is a basically a 4 Seasons record – not New Wave as far as I can see).

    AC/DC sound now like they did in 1974 (sui generis is a good phrase) – they seem utterly resistant to any outside influence. If anything post-punk would be influenced by them, not the other way around.

    The one you’ve got the most point with for me is Blizzard of Ozz – even then, whilst I imagine punk must have had an influence on the fast riffing style of NWOBHM, Budgie were there well earlier than New Wave (Breadfan in particular) and there’s doubtless others of that ilk knocking around in the early 70s doing that sort of thing. I’d be intrigued to know what Randy Rhodes was listening to though.

    Yeah, you’re not convinced are you? Never mind. Just my ears, I guess.

  45. 45
    wichitalineman on 16 Sep 2014 #

    Re 43: Most likely Catatonia were never taken seriously because they were advised by their record company to write hits with contemporary titles – the titles of Road Rage and Mulder & Scully as far as I can remember, were suggested to them and then they wrote the songs around them. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it does a) suggest a slight desperation and b) sound rather forced. “You give me road rage” – really?? That’s probably why it grated with me, as I’m all for a Welsh accent in song.

  46. 46
    Rory on 16 Sep 2014 #

    Tom @43: My complete collection of Catatonia and Cerys Matthews albums agrees with you. (Yes, even Paid Edrych I Lawr.) The title track of International Velvet is one of those songs where I feel ridiculous singing along, but can’t help myself: “Ev-er-y day when I wake up/I thank the Lord I’m Welsh”. (See also: “No Man’s Woman” by Sinéad O’Connor.)

    Re Blondie: This one passed me by, and in fact I think this was the first time I’d heard it. Which surprises me, because I’ve got a fairly recent best-of… (checks: not recent enough – released 1998). Anyway, good vocal, reasonable backing, and I’d like it more if not for the bells. Hovering between 5 and 6.

  47. 47
    chelovek na lune on 16 Sep 2014 #

    Agreeing about Catatonia being heads and shoulders above Sleeper, Elastica, etc. “I come alive, outside the M25”: I know that feeling…

  48. 48
    weej on 17 Sep 2014 #

    Re #47 I’d say Elastica>>>>>>>>>>Catatonia>Sleeper. Cerys has a good voice, they have nice snatches of melody from time to time, but they never did anything remotely memorable, and Wichita is right about the silly zeitgeist-y song titles.

  49. 49
    Ed on 17 Sep 2014 #

    @44 Well I agree with you on one thing: ‘Les Boys’ is vile homophobic garbage. Even as a not particularly aware, Dire Straits-loving teenager, I could tell it was a horrible song.

    Still, at least they learned their lesson and never again produced anything as stupid and sneering and mean-spirited as that… Oh, wait: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ITnUpVhvTM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    (Worth watching just for the beyond Alan Partridge intro.)

  50. 50
    Ed on 17 Sep 2014 #

    Weej @48 is absolutely right, of course. The first Elastica album is the only Britpop record I would ever choose to play these days, and that includes your Blurs and your Oases.

    It still rankles with me that The Strokes were able to pull the same “new wave of new wave” move and be acclaimed as geniuses only seven years later, while Elastica faced nothing but griping about plagiarism.

    Echobelly had their moments, too, actually, although most of them were on ‘King of the Kerb’ and the others were on ‘Insomniac’, with Sonia Madan doing her best Morrissey pastiche. Oh, and ‘Dark Therapy’ was pretty great, too.

    Tom is right, too, @43 about Cerys Matthews’ great voice carrying some pretty lacklustre tunes and arrangements in Catatonia. But I think her accent was an asset rather than a disadvantage. The way she rolls her “R”s in ‘Road Rage’, for example, is totally Welsh, and totally makes the song.

  51. 51
    Tom on 17 Sep 2014 #

    I think the accent makes the song too – but (from memory!) I don’t think her voice was that much appreciated beyond “she’s Welsh”. And yes, I take Wichita’s point about the song titles though I find them more endearing than forced. The duet with Space is the line I can’t cross, though (even if Cerys is good on it).

    Elastica are a massive blindspot for me – “Connection”, “Car Song”, er… that’s it, sorry. Better than Sleeper? I’ll give you that. Better than the Strokes? Less annoying, about equal musically, but high point for high point I’d take “Hard To Explain” over anything Elastica did. In terms of style, attitude, presence though they were the purest Britpop thing (OK maybe Menswear, but even I would grant they were easily better than Menswear) – all the other bands involved, even the very famous ones, adopted Britpop after other ideas had tanked (or in Oasis’ case had it thrust upon them). If I’d had more liking for Britpop I’d have loved them for that, I think.

  52. 52
    Tom on 17 Sep 2014 #

    & there’s a Strokes-related record which is as good a New Wave track as any we’ve mentioned here, but it’s half-bunnied.

  53. 53
    JLucas on 17 Sep 2014 #

    I’ve always felt that Dead From The Waist Down by Catatonia was a lovely thing. Not every singer can make a lyric like “Make hay not war” work, but Cerys had warmth and humour in spades.

  54. 54
    JLucas on 17 Sep 2014 #

    The Ballad of Tom Jones is a great idea for a novelty single, but the execution doesn’t really come off. The verses are great, but the chorus feels half-hearted, as if they’re embarrassed by their own joke. It probably would’ve worked better by professional comedians who could really take it over the top without worrying about damaging their credibility.

  55. 55
    Tommy Mack on 17 Sep 2014 #

    #48: I’d rate Cerys best as a singer, Louise Wener as a songwriter (in the Mojo ‘can you whistle it’ sense) and Elastica as a band (in terms of concept and to borrow a phrase from Patrick Bateman, ensemble playing.)

    I also enjoyed Space: never sure why they used to get panned so much. Although TBOTJ may go some way to explaining it. Tommy Space sounded like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him.

  56. 56
    tm on 17 Sep 2014 #

    Not least because Cerys is out singing him in the ratio Cher:Sonny

  57. 57
    Paulito on 17 Sep 2014 #

    @49: I assume you’re referring to the “faggot” line in ‘Money For Nothing’. Did you miss the whole “singing in character” bit?

    As for “Les Boys”, that’s a bit harder to defend. However, while I’ll accept that it’s a rather mean-spirited song, the fact that it disparages a particular type of gay scene doesn’t automatically mean it’s homophobic. Gays who sneer at the lifestyles of monogamous, vanilla straights don’t get called “heterophobic”.

  58. 58
    Ed on 18 Sep 2014 #

    @57 Veering wildly off-topic here, but although I think the use of “faggot” is unpleasant, it’s not the worst thing about ‘Money For Nothing’, by a long chalk.

    For one thing, there is also the line about “banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee”, although again I guess you could say that it’s not Knopfler being racist, it’s him depicting racism.

    What there is no getting round, though, is the fact that Knopfler is, as you say, “singing in character”. The condescension towards people who have jobs moving TVs and installing microwave ovens – even if it is supposedly based on some real overheard dialogue – is nauseating. The sight of Knopfler and Sting sniggering over these poor dumb clucks, who don’t realise how tough it is to be a millionaire rock star, is one of the least edifying spectacles in the history of pop.

    To be fair, I know nothing at all about Knopfler or his ethical and political views, and I am sure he’s a perfectly decent guy in real life, but that song is an ugly piece of work. And for it to have come after ‘Les Boys’…. well, you could see a pattern emerging.

  59. 59
    Ed on 18 Sep 2014 #

    @55 Patrick Bateman puts his finger on it again! “Ensemble playing” is exactly what makes Elastica great: they sound like they are actually listening to each other. That plus a few great tunes will get you a long way. Plus the fact that in Justine Frischmann they had the most, erm, charismatic front-person of the entire Britpop era.

  60. 60
    tm on 18 Sep 2014 #

    #57, #58. Les Boys is pretty homophobic: I don’t think Knopf ever meant it as such and he’d prob have got away with it but for the ‘glad to be gay’ line but it’s patronizing and clumsy: The (straight or at least straight acting) Sultans Of Swing’s struggle against indifference is framed as heroic whereas glad to be gay Les Boys are just rubbish.

    As for Money for Nothing, I don’t see why a rock star shouldn’t take the piss out of a man spewing racist and homophobic bile in public just because he has a blue collar job. Taken as a whole, Dire Straits’ body of work (Christ that sounds like something Alan Partridge would say) is hardly unsympathetic to the working classes. Let’s not go the ‘Happy Mondays can’t help being misogynist, homophobic arseholes because that’s what working class lads are like’ route.

  61. 61
    tm on 18 Sep 2014 #

    #59: ‘Patrick Bateman nails it again’ would be more apt!

    Elastica sound like a band whereas Sleeper and Catatonia sound like backing groups and fairly undistinguished ones at that: it’s the singer you’re listening to, the band are just providing a competent noise in the background from most of what I’ve heard. Admittedly, I’ve only heard Catatonia’s singles: their albums could sound like Napalm Death for all I know.

  62. 62
    tm on 18 Sep 2014 #
  63. 63
    glue_factory on 18 Sep 2014 #

    I suppose I have less of a problem with the use of “faggot” in Money For Nothing, than I do with it in The Fairytale of New York, where it still gets a freepass on account of it being in character and, basically, because too many people like the song. The problem being that some of Shane’s behaviour towards women and non-white-people in James Fearnley’s Here Comes Everybody makes me think Shane is the character.

  64. 64
    Tommy Mack on 18 Sep 2014 #

    My disappeared comments: suppressed because the ideas they contain are so explosive they threaten the very fabric of society…

    • tm † on 18 Sep 2014 #
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    #57, #58. Les Boys is pretty homophobic: I don’t think Knopf ever meant it as such and he’d prob have got away with it but for the ‘glad to be gay’ line but it’s patronizing and clumsy: The (straight or at least straight acting) Sultans Of Swing’s struggle against indifference is framed as heroic whereas glad to be gay Les Boys are just rubbish.
    As for Money for Nothing, I don’t see why a rock star shouldn’t take the piss out of a man spewing racist and homophobic bile in public just because he has a blue collar job. Taken as a whole, Dire Straits’ body of work (Christ that sounds like something Alan Partridge would say) is hardly unsympathetic to the working classes. Let’s not go the ‘Happy Mondays can’t help being misogynist, homophobic arseholes because that’s what working class lads are like’ route.
    • 61
    tm † on 18 Sep 2014 #
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    #59: ‘Patrick Bateman nails it again’ would be more apt!
    Elastica sound like a band whereas Sleeper and Catatonia sound like backing groups and fairly undistinguished ones at that: it’s the singer you’re listening to, the band are just providing a competent noise in the background from most of what I’ve heard. Admittedly, I’ve only heard Catatonia’s singles: their albums could sound like Napalm Death for all I know.

  65. 65
    Ed on 18 Sep 2014 #

    #60 OK, you have actually forced me to reassess my opinion of MFN a bit. Perhaps it is a subtler piece of work than I had realised. Maybe I don’t hate it quite so much now.

    Still in no rush to listen to it, again, though….

  66. 66
    tm on 18 Sep 2014 #

    #65 it’s all about the guitar break at the start, downhill after that.

    #63: It’s a lazy rhyme for maggot, innit? Just as well there isn’t a dementedly homophobic pop star on the Popular horizon to upset y’all. Oh, wait…

  67. 67
    iconoclast on 19 Sep 2014 #

    #65 #66: plus the fact that it’s about eight and a half minutes long, and the guitar riff appears nearly two dozen times, both of which are overkill.

  68. 68
    Tommy Mack on 20 Sep 2014 #

    Is it really that long? That is overkill.

  69. 69
    enitharmon on 20 Sep 2014 #

    #67 #68 The fact that you didn’t notice rather suggests that it might not be overkill! I note that Won’t Get Fooled Again (much on my mind after the Scotland debacle) runs in at 7 seconds longer and I’ve never heard anybody calling that overkill.

    May I put in a word for the beleagured Mark Knopfler amidst all the hate? I won’t be so crass as to say I knew him well but he was part of the Notting Hill community when I lived there in the 80s. There’s no reason to suppose that there was a shred of homophobia about him.

  70. 70
    Alfred on 20 Sep 2014 #

    #57: Gays don’t get “heterophobic” because they’re not the ones in power. Besides, lots of gays want the family and home in 2014, remember?

  71. 71
    Patrick Mexico on 21 Sep 2014 #

    #66 – More than one on the horizon, sadly. One half of 2003 Creepy Russian Bunny came over all “foot in mouth”, this week, to say the least.

  72. 72
    Tommy Mack on 21 Sep 2014 #

    #69 – don’t think he meant it as homophobic. The majority of Dire Straits’ songs seem to champion or at least sympathise with the underdog. MFN aside because the narrator of the song’s being a prick and having his prickishness mocked in the very rock music he despises. It’s just unfortunate that in Les Boys, the first (only?) time gay characters appear in DS’ work, it’s in the a position of pity and ridicule.

  73. 73
    Tom on 23 Sep 2014 #

    Just a quick update on updates – I have been busy last week and this with the day job, going to see Kate Bush, minor parenting nightmares and working on a Secret Thing which is pop related but not for public consumption. So the next entry will be up sometime this week, perhaps even tomorrow, sorry for the delay.

  74. 74
    Ed on 25 Sep 2014 #

    @69 Going back to what I was saying @58, I wasn’t trying to impugn Knopfler’s character. It doesn’t surprise me at all that he seemed a decent guy.

    It’s the songs I was objecting too, not the man.

    Does it work the other way, too? In other words, can good or merely unexceptionable songs be separated from the reprehensible attitudes or behavior of their creators? I still don’t know what I think about this one, in spite of having been given plenty of opportunities to think about it in recent years.

    I guess, as others have suggested, we’ll get some more chances to chew it over before we’re done here. I’ve worked out who one of the forthcoming homophobes is, but I’ve no idea about the other.

  75. 75
    Tommy Mack on 25 Sep 2014 #

    #74: “can good or merely unexceptionable songs be separated from the reprehensible attitudes or behavior of their creators?” – Depends on the degree and nature of their malevolence. If you were only going to listen to records by decent people, you’d probably have a much smaller record collection. In popular terms, there are massive double standards here: no-one listens to Gary Glitter any more but plenty are happy to listen to records made by murderers like Phil Spector and Joe Meek and wife-beaters like James Brown and John Lennon. Actually, reprehensible behaviour is probably easier to separate from the music than reprehensible attitudes and historic crimes more so than ongoing abuse etc.

    Re: Les Boys, I don’t think there’s any homophobic intent behind it: Knopf seems to be on Les Boys’ side but what he feels for them is pity rather than admiration which feels casually homophobic when compared to the stoic dignity of the straight outsider stereotypes in Sultans of Swing, The Gallery, Single-Handed Sailor (not, sadly, a song about wanking). It’s plausible that, like SoS or MFN, Les Boys is based on a real-life encounter and the real life Les Boys were rubbish but as I’ve said up thread, it still feels clumsy and patronising. I never thought in 2014 I’d be dissecting the sexual politics of Dire Straits album fillers…

  76. 76
    Ed on 25 Sep 2014 #

    Dire Straits album tracks are the real secret history of the 20th Century.

  77. 77
    Cumbrian on 25 Sep 2014 #

    I suppose I’d better chime in here again, given I dropped that Les Boys pebble into the water some way back up this thread and managed to turn this into a referendum on whether Knopfler is a homophobe or not. I agree with the contrast against Sultans of Swing as being a pointer towards it being casual rather than outright homphobia and I think it likely that Knopfler isn’t homophobic himself. Still, it’s not a very pleasant song and can be very easily misinterpreted, especially as musically it’s so bad that I would imagine that very few people get to the end where it’s revealed that though “they’re bad for business” (and why might that be?) they dream of Jean Genet and are probably on a different intellectual level to the people that are throwing brickbats at them or dismissing them as useless. They’d have turned off before then, either mentally or physically, I’d imagine.

    I’ve said elsewhere that I think Dire Straits are due a reappraisal. I like them – not all their stuff but a good proportion of it. They’re not going to get one, I would imagine, but there’s loads of their stuff which I would happily stick up for (Telegraph Road, Tunnel Of Love, etc). When they’re epic (proper usage), they’re epic (youth usage).

  78. 78
    flahr on 25 Sep 2014 #

    #77 – I think that gives me some sort of legal obligation to link to Punctum’s piece on the rather wonderful Love Over Gold.

  79. 79
    SimonS on 28 Sep 2014 #

    #77 “They get nervous and they make mistakes
    They’re bad for business”. Mistakes, not les boys.

    It’s an observational song, but far from his best. Is Private Dancer misogynistic?

  80. 80
    ciaran on 20 Oct 2014 #

    Although I wasn’t really all that familiar with Blondie’s heyday I thought their comeback was a good thing for some reason.

    This was around the time the 80s revival was underway so Maria came at exactly the right time. Madness were also on the comeback trail by the summer of 99 aswell.

    It isnt quite up to the heights of Heart of Glass or Atomic as they sound more like a pub rock act than than uber cool futuristic early 80s group but bonus points for the chorus.

    6.

  81. 81
    anto on 20 Oct 2014 #

    I’m picking up on a Catholic theme in this one. All those ‘ave Marias’ and ‘a million and one candlelights’. It’s unmistakably Blondie but somehow more streamlined and professional than in their heyday. The comeback like so many others seemed interesting for a few days, but then maybe you don’t want it as much as you think you did.
    What really struck me about ‘One Way or Another’ which is a casually savage documentary even stealthier than Molly Dineen’s film about Geri Haliwell was how the individuals in Blondie came across. Harry and Stein seemed jaded but basically cool, Clem Burke was a bit clueless but harmless but the others came across as a shower of embittered wankers – Nigel Harrison in particular. It’s a film that tells you a lot about people who refuse to grow up.

  82. 82
    Cumbrian on 11 Apr 2016 #

    66-69: I’ve suddenly realised, after quite some time, why I have felt something wrong with Money For Nothing every time I hear it on Spotify or on a shuffled play through my iPod. The version I remember from my childhood felt much, much shorter and got to the main riff far quicker at the intro. On review, it’s because my Dad had it on vinyl way back in the mid-80s, recorded it to tape and stuck it in the car. After hitting wiki, I’ve discovered that the album’s run time is about 7 and a half minutes shorter than the CD, all of which is trimmed out of Side A – so it’s really jarring to hear these longer versions whenever they come on.

    MFN is still 7 mins long on vinyl, mind, and Brothers In Arms is probably Dire Straits’ worst album. I certainly prefer the first 4 studio albums far ahead of what turned out to be the “big one”.

    As you were, anyway. I can’t imagine anyone cares too much about this…

  83. 83
    John R on 29 Jul 2016 #

    This is a great tune from a fuggin great band.

  84. 84

    Yes, it is. And this is a great thread from a fuggin great forum (just like this one.)

    https://community.drownedinsound.com/t/how-good-are-they-really-blondie/37711/110

  85. 85
    Gareth Parker on 24 May 2021 #

    I rather like this and it’s always good to see Blondie at #1. 7/10 for me.

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