July 19, 1982 12:00 PM


What little electricity this group can still generate seems devoted to keeping Debbie Harry’s new hairdo standing on end. The songs themselves—with three exceptions—carry no more charge than static cling. Let’s take the exceptions first. Island of Lost Souls is a sunny Caribbean number. Dragonflys a seductive post-disco dance number. It’s about an intergalactic Indy 500, with Debbie doing the futurespeak color commentary (“These hypersonic inertial transition ships can calculate the negligible quantity of spherical differential for tight orbit…”). It’s dumb, but Blondie isn’t Kierkegaard, you know. Only The Beast packs the tough, sexy strut that made the group justly famous. Blondie’s mission, executed to thrilling perfection in 1978’s Parallel Lines and 1979’s Eat to the Beat, is to make trash transcendant. The Hunter at least accepts that challenge (unlike 1980’s artily posed Autoamerican). The result, though, is mostly sluggish, contrived or wispy, with Debbie’s gifts as a lyricist best described in her own lines: “I can’t find the right words to say/My meaning’s not quite getting through.”

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