Panic of Girls
By David Chiu
Blondie’s ninth studio album, Panic of Girls, really encompasses what has always been unique about this band: the willingness to embrace and incorporate different styles into their music. This new record is not short on variety: there’s not one but three reggae-sounding songs (“The End of the End,” “Girlie Girlie” and a cover of Beirut’s “Sunday Smite”), as well as French pop (“Le Bleu”) and Latin dance (the very groove-oriented “Wipe Off My Sweat”). There are, however, a couple of the songs are steeped in the very sleek, New Wave rock mode like “D-Day,” “Love Doesn’t Frighten Me at All,” and the wonderful single “Mother,” an ode to a New York nightclub. After 35 years, the band still sounds inspired and true to their New York roots, and Debbie Harry still projects that street-smart, charismatic appeal in her singing. Panic of Girls works both ways in recalling the best of the past and yet being forward-sounding too.