Debbie Harry doesn’t need to prove to anyone that she’s cool. Her work in the ‘70s and ‘80s as Blondie’s iconic frontwoman, which among may other things involved sneaking unabashed pop music into CBGB’s and befriending early hip hop and graffiti icons Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy, has her set for life. But in case you needed a reminder, Harry’s spent the past year collaborating with some of her hip stylistic offspring.
The first instance of this came on Blood Orange’s 2016 album Freetown Sound, in which Harry lent vocals to the track “E.V.P.” Then just a few weeks ago, she again collaborated with Blood Orange mastermind Dev Hynes, this time granting him a co-writing credit on new Blondie track “Long Time.” That song was produced by indie rock veteran John Congleton, who also manned the boards for Baltimore synthpop group Future Islands’ new album, on which Harry also guests. How many more degrees of separation do you think there are in this scenario until we get to Kevin Bacon?
“Shadows” is taken from The Far Field, Future Islands’ fifth album and their first since gaining unprecedented fame with 2014’s Singles. In general, it’s a much more subdued and melancholic listen than its eclectic and often-joyous predecessor, and penultimate track “Shadows” is no exception. Frontman Samuel T. Herring trades vocals with Harry, the duo playing the part of a doomed couple comparing their waning romance to lengthening shadows in the corner of their room.
Although “Shadows” is more depressing than your average Blondie song, you can still hear definite strains of the seminal group’s synth-streaked, dance beat-fueled sound in its stately sorrow.
The rest of The Far Field, just released today, is also very much worth your time-- check it out on Spotify.