Pollinator, the eleventh album by Blondie, a New York-based band that has been around since the punk new wave era that came from the late seventies. I was able to download and listen to all the tracks on the day of release, Friday, May Fifth 2017, and my pre-ordered physical CD copy was handed to me by the Amazon courier the next day.
Looking at the album cover still sealed in cellophane, I could tell that there was something special about Pollinator, there is the stunning design of cream and red with an etched drawing of a flower and an insect on the front cover indicating pollination, and the back cover has stunning black and cream stripes in a decreasing diamond shape with a red and black diamond-shaped photo of the band, and the usual track listings.
The cover is made from cardboard, much better than the traditional plastic CD case, as I think that this gives a feel of vinyl to the album. I looked at the cover for a few moments and noticed a ‘parental advisory explicit lyrics’ sticker on the front and couldn’t wait to hear what that was about.
On the inside, there is a black and white photo of the band that looks like it has been photoshopped onto a cream and red background, the black CD, with red and cream typing and the cream pollinator logo, is presented in a plastic tray. Inside the sleeve is a pullout booklet with the linear notes and some more photo’s of the band and album graphics all in the same black, cream and red style.
When I opened my CD copy I went straight to the linear notes as I wanted to see who had written the songs and I was a bit disappointed to learn that only five of the songs had been written by members of the band, but I later learned that the other songs were written for Blondie especially for this album and the writers include Johnny Marr, Sia, Nick Valensi and others.
Eleven new tracks are present on Pollinator that see the band returning to a more classic and traditional Blondie style that is reminiscent of their very early work but in a more mature and modern sound.
Pollinator kicks off with ”Doom or Destiny”, a Harry/Stein penned track starting with a classic drum roll that announces to the music world that Blondie is back, and with Debbie’s snarling vocals leaping above the music make this a very modern but still traditional-sounding record.
On the first play of the new Pollinator album, my first impressions were that it was just another Blondie album, but after about three or four plays I realised that this is going to become a classic album in my view. Very rarely do you get an album that all the tracks on it are good and you like them all, and this is one of those albums.
On the CD version, there is a hidden bonus track. The last track, ‘Fragments’ finishes, but your player will keep playing silence for about a minute and then another track starts. You will have to go on to the world-wide-web, like I did, to find out the name of this hidden bonus track as I don’t want to spoil it, it is obviously hidden for a reason. I don’t know why bands do this I have a few albums with a hidden track like this.
In the month that I have had this album, I have not listened to much else and I think that the band have put a lot of hard work into this album, it is, in my opinion, one of their best. Pollinator has certainly earned its place in my CD collection, but don’t just take my word for it, see for your self and buy your copy now or if you have it already I would like to hear your comments below.