Debbie does fine at 48

Deborah Harry Debravation (Chrysalis).

WHEN the power pop of Blondie broke into the charts in the late 1970s, lead singer Deborah Harry was already in her early 30s.

At the time, that was too old to be taken seriously - both the punk and new wave movements were youthful affairs. But, hormonal lust and a few snappy tunes prevailed and Harry became the sex goddess of the generation.

Despite her icy-cool style, nothing could mask the fact she often strained to hit the notes, but - with the help of guitarist Chris Stein - she had a knack for penning songs that anticipated commercial trends (the Eurobeat of Heart of Glass or the rap ofRapture come to mind).

So, at 48, what has Harry left to offer? With her fourth post-Blondie album, Debravation, she has come up with her best effort to date - a mature release which could contain some Top 10 hits and is easily more consistent in quality than any of the Blondie albums.

Some of the credit goes to Stein.


Although he and Harry parted ways after a prolonged period during which she nursed him through pemphigus (a wasting disease), Stein co-wrote and produced five songs on Debr avation. OF THESE, Stability and Dog Star Girl are outstanding, with Stability sounding a bit like a re-think of Rapture and the insistent groove of Dog Star Girl providing Debravation with a dark, brooding finale.

Harry also co-wrote some tracks with other partners. Interestingly, these songs have a greater tendency to explore sexual themes.

Strike Me Pink and Lip Service, for instance, speak for themselves. And for its part, the gospel-tinted Communion mixes sexual gratification with religion: ''But for communion let's go to my place . . . take, eat, this is my body, I give it to you - take, drink, this is my blood, do it in remembrance of me.'' But Debravation 's most commercial offering was not written by Harry. I Can See Clearly, the album's opening track and first single, is an overtly Blondie-esque dance tune.

Obviously intended for maximum radio and video play, as throwaways go, it is a good one.


And should the music on Debravation not be enough for some of Harry's original fans, take heart, the back cover of the CD features Harry in the nude - still looking uncommonly presentable after all these years.