Mike Schiller: Somehow, some way, Blondie is topical, political, energetic, and danceable. To be one of these is not a surprise; to be all of them is a bit of a shock, particularly when you realize that Chris Stein is 67 years old and Debbie Harry is 71(!). It’s a video that stars an initially-sullen androgynous space traveler who finds a glamorous space drag queen who presumably guides our protagonist to that great discotheque in the sky. It’s a story of not just acceptance, but a celebration of self and others. It’s a story where gender and sexuality is a fluid concept. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a story with a happy ending, something that’s awfully hard to find or even imagine given a political climate that seems hellbent on punishing and taking away the rights of the most vulnerable. The song underneath it all is a lightweight disco tune, nothing new but very much classic Blondie, and as a vehicle for the video, it’s perfect. [8/10]
Chris Ingalls: Every time you think they’ve packed it in, Blondie are back. The danceable new wave sound that gave us “Heart of Glass” and “Rapture” is thankfully present here, but it sounds like they’re stuck between reintroducing the world to Blondie-isms and embracing contemporary dance music. It’s all well and good if they want to be relevant in 2017, but this sounds a bit too much like they’re reaching. Not bad, but not necessary either. [6/10]
Paul Carr: It feels mean to be too critical of Blondie. After all, their punk meets new wave meets disco sound, and their run of great songs places them as one of the great, iconic bands of the ’70s and ’80s. However, this comeback single is like finding out your Mum has started a Scissor Sisters covers band. While it’s not terrible, it’s something of a misstep. A little embarrassing and almost degrading for the band. They haven’t so much stooped to a new low more got stuck in 2006. [4/10]
Jordan Penney: The challenge of getting a clear-eyed view of a group like Blondie is trying to balance two habits of mind: a tendency to compare them against their classic era, and a need to judge them fairly on their own terms in 2017. The core of “Fun” is definitive Blondie, and Debbie Harry’s voice is the center of it. Her delivery is warm and clear, the song’s vocal melody is carefully developed, and the attitude, conviction, ease, and assurance in the approach, as ever, is signature Debbie Harry. But apart from her performance the song feels overproduced and lacking shade and color. A distracting glare of synths and electronic sheen almost bury Burke and Stein, two skilled musicians in their own right and key elements in the band’s sound. Here their drums and guitar seem lacking in presence and personality, probably a function of the shrill and grating mix rather than the performances. So far, on balance, Blondie in 2017 sounds inspired. But I hope for a fuller range of stylistic choices on the album. [6/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: On the cusp of an 11th album, Blondie is a perfect lesson in staying up to date without having to try hard. “Fun” is party-ready pop rock with a catchy hook and a video full of glitz and glam — both on Earth and out with a few extraterrestrials. Androgyny, glitter and good music make for an excellent combination and a great time, and the whole band somehow seems to have the same sky-high energy it always has. Viva Blondie! [8/10]
Steve Horowitz: Let me get this right, too much fun isn’t fun? Yes, I know. Once I had a love, it was a pain in the ass, but the sentiment doesn’t seem to fit the song here. Blondie seems to work too hard for a band that once encapsulated the slacker ethos into their music. There needs some space between the grooves. It’s too busy and hence tiresome. Even Debbie Harry’s charismatic vocals can’t save it. [5/10]
Blondie’s new album Pollinator releases 5 May 2017.