Though the sudden embrace of the trappings of goth culture via Anne Rice was a bit odd, given Napolitano's long-standing fascination with both Catholic and Mexican imagery (and the elements of sex and death prevalent in both) it wasn't too strange. Her songwriting and singing focus remains much more roots-oriented, as the opening strut/stroll of "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)" makes clear. Not that she and the band can't kick out the jams as well – immediately following that is "The Sky Is a Poisonous Garden," a punk-speed thrash with deliciously decadent imagery to boot. The most well known song was "Joey," which actually got some top 40 airplay; while it has a certain catchiness to it, ultimately it comes off as a less successful Heart song from the same era, which is saying something.
If Highway 61 Revisited played as a garage rock record, the double album Blonde on Blonde inverted that sound, blending blues, country, rock, and folk into a wild, careening, and dense sound…
Although Debbie Harry's popularity had decreased by the late '80s, 1989 wasn't a bad year for her at all. That year, Blondie's former lead vocalist successfully portrayed a struggling singer on the brilliant but underrated CBS crime drama Wiseguy, and demonstrated that she could still have considerable fun in the studio. Under the direction of hit producer Mike Chapman – who had worked with Blondie, as well as with everyone from Sweet to Scandal – Harry delivers an eclectic CD that isn't in a class with a Blondie treasure like Parallel Lines but nonetheless has a lot going for it. Much of this new wave-ish pop/rock and European-flavored dance music is heartfelt, clever, and quite memorable. Everything from the charming "Brite Side" (which she performed on Wiseguy) to the addictive "Bike Boy" to the haunting "He Is So" makes it clear that Harry, at 43, was far from a has-been.
Unexpectedly, Texas became a popular sensation prior to the release of White on Blonde when Chris Evans made the soulful single "Say What You Want" the de facto theme song on his morning program on Radio 1. On the strength of his support, Texas was catapulted to previously unthinkable success, and the majority of the fans who thought the number one single was fine shouldn't have been disappointed with the full-length album. A combination of roots-rock and soul, White on Blonde occasionally has more style than substance, but Sharleen Spiteri's gorgeous vocals and the band's professionalism make the record a charming, ingratiating listen.
Blonde on Blonde was a guitar-led psychedelic rock group from South Wales. The band was formed in Newport in 1967 by vocalist/guitarist Ralph Denyer, drummer Les Hicks, bassist/organist Richard Hopkins and guitarist/sitar player Gareth Johnson. The band was named after Bob Dylan's 1966 album of the same name.