Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Debbie Harry

  • KooKoo [Chrysalis, 1981] B-
  • Rockbird [Geffen, 1986] B
  • Debravation [Sire/Reprise, 1993] Neither
  • Necessary Evil [Eleven Seven Music, 2007] *

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

KooKoo [Chrysalis, 1981]
Blondie plus Chic sounded like a natural--charming klutz confronts the meaning of grace. But in the world of surfaces that both inhabit so intensely there are no naturals, and the kind of spiritual heat that might have made the bond take is rare at any depth. Lots of sharp little moments are intermittently arresting, and if both artists establish themselves as classic the strain may sound noble eventually. Right now it sounds klutzy. B-

Rockbird [Geffen, 1986]
It's her achievement and her curse that just listening to the record you'd think she never went away. Vocal technique and vocal identity are sharper than when she withdrew from the fray five years ago, and the songs are brasher and more insouciant than on The Hunter or KooKoo or Autoamerican. If the sound could be a mite fresher, that's because the world is now overrun with the dance-rock Harry made possible--just as it's overrun with cartoon sexpots carrying tunes, whose collective existence give her a larger identity problem she refuses to confront. But it's also because the late '70s were Harry's heyday. Not too many pop icons get more than one of those. B

Debravation [Sire/Reprise, 1993] Neither

Necessary Evil [Eleven Seven Music, 2007]
Nah, she's not Blondie--Blondie was a band, and still is ("Jen Jen," "Paradise"). *

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