The Hunter


Chrysalis Records, 1982

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Oh, how the mighty fall. I can’t quite work out exactly when Blondie’s bubble burst or where they misplaced their once-potent mojo, but it sure as hell came to a head with The Hunter. Not only does this pile of you-know-what hold the distinction of being far and away the worst Blondie album ever, it also marked the end of the once great band. 

Following this album and a short farewell tour, the group decided to split and Harry spent the rest of the decade forging a respectable solo career, all while nursing her man Chris Stein back to health after he nearly died following a severe bout of pemphigus. His story of survival and Harry’s effervescent solo career is a whole lot more interesting than The Hunter, so I’ll keep this brief and as pain-free as I can.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Never before had this band struggled to write a tune, and although a couple of dubious attempts at monkeying with the formula on 1980’s Autoamerican should have sounded alarm bells, they went right ahead and did just about the opposite of everything they had ever succeeded with before. Just what they were hoping for, who knows, but try listening to “The Beast” more than once and you’ll get my point. Even worse than its muffled production and guitar wankery is the outright abomination that is “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game,” one of Smokey Robinson’s best songs. 

If you want to hear how to update and rework a gem like that, then check out Grace Jones’ version, which is pure gold. The generic pop of “Dragonfly, “Island Of Lost Souls,” and “Orchid Club” do nothing to even remotely salvage this disaster, and when “War Child” appears halfway through, it manages to drag this thing into even lower depths. “Little Caesar” should have been a reggae-tinged gem like their take on “The Tide Is High,” but the stupid horns and inane lyrics wreck any chance of redemption with this one as well. 

 “English Boys” would have been charming if it hadn’t been dumped on with the rancid collection of garbage it’s lumped with here, but it’s also ruined by the dreadful production qualities (what drugs was Mike Chapman on?). Crap filler like “Danceaway” and “For Your Eyes Only” just make matters worse again, and I’m glad the producers of the Bond movies passed on the latter for one of their films because it’s actually a solid movie and it could only have been hampered by this dreadful attempt at reliving the ‘60s. That in itself is so surprising because Blondie peppered their early albums with vibrant expressions of the ‘60s on cuts like “Kung Fu Girls” and “Denis.” 

Unless you’re an obsessive completist or you worship daily at the temple of Ms. Harry, then don’t go anywhere near The Hunter.

Rating: F

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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