We’ll be the judge of that! (Deb looks amazing in the video, at least.)
Maxwell Cavaseno: Honestly, considering how bad this sounds, the highest purpose it can achieve is reminding us how good the original Blondie comeback that gave us “Maria” and that weird attempt at nu-metal with Mobb Deep, Coolio and U-God (no seriously) was. If I had to explain the difference, it was that Blondie (and Debbie) were assuming the prestige they’d so clearly earned off their legacy in being grandiose and a bit smug. Considering how many of their peers never realized their potential it was well-deserved audacity to have the demand for respect of elder statesmen. Here, you get the feeling that they want to be cool grandparents by emulating indie dance moves from a decade ago. It’s like Debbie Harry, once one of the most raw, is out here trying to show me her favorite The Office quotes on Pinterest and frankly… they’re better than this.
Edward Okulicz: Do you know that if you combine the best dozen songs or so off No Exit and The Curse of Blondie, you have a pretty good record? Dated, yes, but fun. I’m glad that in what would be most band’s dotages Blondie wear their love of disco on their sleeve as much as ever, but where’s the funk, the groove, the heft, the hook? It’s not exactly, er, fun.
Thomas Inskeep: This collaboration with TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek reminds me quite a bit of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at their most disco-y, which is a shame, because it’s like a copy of a xerox of a mimeograph. And Debbie Harry’s voice is paler than I’ve ever heard it; it barely sounds like Debbie. This is not, ultimately, very good.
Claire Biddles: Narrator: it was not fun
Ryo Miyauchi: Blondie on cruise control is still a Blondie that doesn’t disappoint. It’s hard to resist the classic template of a chorus with a string uplift and Debbie Harry raising her notes up a notch. The only part dating this thing is that synth gurgle, but it feels at home with this clean, old-fashioned brand of dance-pop fun.
Anthony Easton: It is a metaphor, that an attempt to recreate historical fun isn’t very entertaining, and formally, that something that was once crisp is soggy.
Jessica Doyle: The restraint in Debbie Harry’s voice, sharp and careful, in the verses, isn’t a detraction in and of itself; but somehow her voice gets overwhelmed in the mixing of the chorus, the sound turning mushy. The feeling of balance being precious and easily lost, the ambiguity that I think is supposed to be powering “You’re my fun / Too much fun / Isn’t fun,” dribbles away. In the resulting song there’s no shame and not much memorable.
Jonathan Bradley: Fun, yes, if effortful. But there’s a real effervescence in this tune’s day-glo post-punk bop, which is recognisably Blondie without being, say, “Atomic 2017.” What is not recognisably Blondie is the lead vocal, for which Debbie Harry has condensed herself into a helium jet that spurts feebly before dissipating into nothing.
Alfred Soto: Using his production of Kelis’ Food as template, Dave Sitek strands a hoarse, unrecognizable Deborah Harry in a Max Martin-Justin Timberlake tune that recoils from funk as if it were an STD. Almost two decades ago (!), Blondie released No Exit, a little-heralded comeback to which many critics condescended; at the time I said it was their best since 1979’s long ago and far away Eat to the Beat. Sitek, Martin-JT, and Blondie is no more ungainly than Coolio, Jazz Passengers, and a Shangri-Las cover: the band likes rendering these indigestible stews tasty and surprising. But No Exit boasted a thunderous Clem Burke, always up for a drum roll or three, and an engaged, alert Harry. Only on the second half of “Fun”‘s chorus sports the yearning and confidence that came so easily.