I remember Debbie Harry being one of my first great crushes and obsessions growing up. I remember seeing her on MTV in my formative years, and even being a long haired metal kid who also loved punk and hardcore, the music of Blondie hypnotized me. Well, I like to think the “music” hypnotized me, but I really think it was the pure enamor for Ms. Harry. However the Blondie discography easily boasts albums worth of hits that are still in rotation to this day.
Blondie’s New York, while being only 52 minutes, packs a lot of history and information in its short running time. A theme of Blondie’s New York that really pulled me in was how much a trailblazer Debbie Harry really was for her time in New York. Blondie’s New York drives the point home of Debbie Harry, as a woman breaking the mold not only as a female fronting, at the time, a punk and new wave band, but also breaking the mold as a woman.
Blondie’s New York also dives into Blondie’s eventual transformation to pop music with the help of producer Mike Chapman, and just how much involvement Mike had in Blondie’s creative process in the studio. Mike Chapman has a lot of screen time in this documentary, as he discusses working his meticulous technique in the studio with the band's more laid back approach. According to Blondie’s New York this was mostly successful with band and producer with a couple of meltdowns here and there as a result of the culture clash.
What is really fun about Blondie’s New York, is the amount of technical discussion in this film. Especially, on the topic of one of the band's biggest hits, “Heart of Glass”. "Heart of Glass”, as a song was ahead of its time when it came for the technology of the time. We get to watch Mike Chapman enthusiastically describe the details of this and how they created the song, while also fusing disco and rock. It really is a must watch for the studio music nerd like myself.
Blondie’s New York left me wanting a lot more. Another 40 minutes would have been nice, but, for what it is, Blondie’s New York is a great quick watch into one of New York's punk/new wave progenitor’s the have influenced countless since and most likely countless into the future.
Pass on this rocking review!
Scott W. Lambert