Panic of Girls

On Blondie's self-released ninth album, the New York new wave greats fold the present into their past – from a "Tide Is High"-tinged cover of Brooklyn avant-folkies Beirut to a "Dreaming"-like basher with a melody via TV on the Radio. There's a little too much throwing stuff at a wall (the florid Spanish house track, the Serge Gainsbourg tribute) and, oddly, their bailiwick synth-rock sometimes feels theatrically heavy-handed, more Killers than Parallel Lines. Yet, if the tunes sometimes sag, Debbie Harry's voice remains sharply sculpted; on "China Shoes" she sings about her distant lover with tough, ageless longing. Because you're never too old to get left hanging on the telephone.

Listen to "What I Heard":

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