Blondie didn't follow the smoothest possible path to get from its '70s and early-'80s heyday to "Long Time," the busily hard-charging new pop single its members recorded with an assist from Blood Orange's Dev Hynes. The New York band, long since enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was a new-wave pioneer, a chart-topper (with 1979's "Heart of Glass," among others), and an influence on several generations of bands that play everything from disco to punk to reggae to pop. But Blondie also lay dormant from 1982 to 1997, only to return with a patchy assortment of uneven studio albums, reissue campaigns and occasional nostalgia tours.
Still, the band's core membership — iconic singer Debbie Harry, guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke — has remained remarkably intact during Blondie's career, which continues with the release of its 11th album, Pollinator, on May 5. Produced by John Congleton, Pollinator draws on contributions from many artists and songwriters the band has influenced, including Hynes, Sia, Laurie Anderson, Charli XCX, The Smiths' Johnny Marr, TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek and others.
Though deliberate echoes of "Heart of Glass" make themselves heard in the song's opening seconds, "Long Time" never feels like a mere rehash. If anything, it functions as terrific connective tissue between Blondie's seminal past work and a future brighter than fans had any right to expect. It's the best Blondie song in ages and a joy to behold.