No Exit was a textbook example of everything a reunion album shouldn't be -- sloppily written, dominated by embarrassing attempts to sound current (especially the Coolio [!] duet in the metallic title track), and calculatedly commercial. So it's no surprise that when Blondie decided to try again five years later -- when Debbie Harry was actually old enough to be a Golden Girl, few were paying attention and The Curse of Blondie didn't even get a U.S. release. But what's shocking is that this, and not No Exit, is what should've been Blondie's big comeback effort. That isn't to say that The Curse of Blondie is a classic Blondie disc, but it's the first good one since at least Autoamerican, and features one of their best-ever singles in "Good Boys." "Good Boys" is prime Blondie the way they should be -- pulsing layers of synthesizers are punctuated by sharp guitar riffs and the whole prize is dressed up in an infectious hook that's one part bubblegum, one part sexy chanteuse. Disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder even mixed the single version, and this alone is a sign that the band is again aware of its strengths and choosing the right collaborators, unlike the turn with Coolio the last time around. The rest of the album doesn't quite live up to the promise of that single, but unlike No Exit, it's largely not embarrassing (opening track "Shakedown" aside -- no one needs to hear Debbie Harry rap the lines "I think I'd have a better chance to see the Pope/I got so bored with his schtick and waving a dick/and all his high and mighty sh*t/I'm a witch"). All 14 songs are dressed up in Steve Thompson's chic, modern production -- while the album sounds contemporary, it also sounds like classic Blondie. Perhaps this had something to do with the cultural shift that took place between this and the last album -- in 1998/1999, rap-metal, trance, and bubblegum pop ruled the charts and all three clumsily found their way onto No Exit. But by 2003, bands like the Sounds and the Rapture were getting big doing virtually the exact same thing that Blondie had done 25 years earlier, and that set the stage for them to release this, their best album in well over 20 years. That doesn't mean The Curse of Blondie is great -- after all, both No Exit and The Hunter were awful -- and without a widespread release even fewer are likely to hear this. But those who do will probably be pleased to find that Blondie still have some life left.
AllMusic Review by Jason Damas