THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Blondie – “X Offender”

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Blondie – “X Offender”.

Blondie’s first single (originally called “Sex Offender” before a skittish Private Stock Records insisted on changing the title), 1976’s “X Offender,” cleanly summarizes everything that was great about Blondie’s early phase as New York punk’s premier pop culture obsessives. Debbie Harry’s arch lyrics about a criminal’s love for the cop who busted her (co-writer Gary Valentine’s original lyrics were about how an old girlfriend’s disapproving parents had him arrested when he turned 18 and she was still a minor) are funny, odd, and a wicked parody of a certain breed of early-’60s teen melodrama. 

Musically, the song is faultless, with Jimmy Destri’s ultra-cheesy Farfisa organ recalling memories of “Runaway” and “Palisades Park” while Valentine, drummer Clem Burke, and guitarist Chris Stein attack the rhythm with the surefooted verve of a hot instrumental surf group. Just about every element of “X Offender” is deliberately reminiscent of an earlier tune or musical style, but the lifts are done with so much evident love that it’s impossible to be miffed by them.



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