BLONDIE – “Dreaming” / “Sound Asleep” (Chrysalis CHS 2350) September 1979
In the blonde corner Deborah Harry of Hawthorne, New Jersey. Her second, Chris Stein, is rubbing her down with dollar bills and taking photographs of her with a hidden camera.
Deborah Harry used to have the lush voice, a voice of the texture people would have you believe shrill old harpy Ronnie Spector had, her and the rest of those pulp fiction fiftiettes. A voice full of sex and padded-hip-nudge humour, when every syllable winked “Hi, you must be the guy from Securicor with my little gift” – a gold hearted, gold-haired gold-digger.
Her voice sounds like too many long nails have trailed carelessly across it, like too many long knives have found a haven in her back. Her defensiveness has damned up her soft sexiness; it’s a damn shame, a big loss, but one she encouraged by trying to live down to all the leers, and not standing up for herself.
From the cartoons, novellas and vignettes of that first great album to today’s serving by sitting and waiting – her singles are always concerned with hanging on telephones, losing love, picturing this or that, wishing and hoping and dreaming.
Her mind may be lazy these days, but her Product hormones are always at it – churning out track after skimpy track, shoving them onto albums and stretching them out on singles, each flick of the creative wrist backed up and fortified by that beauty (Debbie and Chris love video so; this is why their band is split down the middle).
Blondie seem to conduct their business pretty successfully that way, but here’s the first time their record-breaking reflexes have carried through into performance; everyone involved sounds as though they left the bath running back in their abode. Debbie mouths the obligatory sophisto-ingenue lyrics (song credited to her and Stein, as is the B-side – very greedy) and to hide her yawns the song has been given a pseudo-Spector tune and production; pathetic, weighing its trill, shrill treble against Spector’s 50-thousand-leagues-under-the-Statue-Of-Liberty boom.
Blondie, for all their sales and years, sound running scared. Spector treated the recording studio as his kingdom and the control buttons as his henchmen; Blondie have started to act like harassed immigrant tenants who can’t wait to see the back of the wretched place. (NME)