If you consulted a Blondie discography in the fall of 2002, you would see a slew of compilations listed, and you might wonder why a new Greatest Hits was needed. But a closer examination would reveal that there really is a niche into which such a collection would fall: that of a full-priced, single-disc, CD-era hits compilation covering the band's entire career. Although still in print, The Best of Blondie
is a 12-track release from the LP era, first issued back in 1981 in between Blondie's fifth and sixth regular albums. 1988's Once More Into the Bleach
combines Blondie and Debbie Harry solo tracks. 1993's Blonde & Beyond
is a rarity set. 1994's The Platinum Collection
fills two CDs and is thus pricey. 1995's The Remix Project
contains remixes. There have also been short, discount-priced collections and overseas compilations, but the niche remains -- and Greatest Hits fills it. It contains among its 19 tracks all ten of the band's U.S. chart singles as well as their major U.K. hits that did not chart in America. "X Offender," Blondie's 1976 debut single, is included, and so is "Maria," their 1999 comeback hit. By sequencing the album out of chronological order, the compilers emphasize the band's eclecticism. You don't get to hear Blondie's evolution from their early bubblegum punk style into the efficient power pop of the Mike Chapman productions and on into ersatz disco, rap, and Caribbean music; everything is all mixed up. The tropical 1980-1981 hit "The Tide Is High," for example, is followed by the belligerent "X Offender" from four years earlier, and the tough-talking "Rip Her to Shreds" gives way to the early hip-hop of "Rapture." Chronological order would have been better, but the hits are all here.