2 January 2017, No. 226, Blondie, ‘Rapture (Special Disco Mix)’

No. 226, Blondie’s “Rapture (Special Disco Mix),” falls just before the middle of the eighth mixtape, and it’s one of the mixtape edits I enjoy the most. For the first twelve bars there’s barely an indication it’s a crowd pleaser, all drums and sparse synthesizers. But when the bassline starts up, it’s hard not to feel the groove whether or not it’s a groove you’ve felt before.

Debbie Harry has no business rapping, and I made sure to leave in the line about the man from Mars eating cars as a testament to the faddish way rap was exploited on early records like “Rapper’s Delight.” Grandmaster Caz, from whom Big Bank Hank gaffled all those rhymes, is also the source of that sing-songy, markedly old school cadence that inflects disco rap, but Caz’s rhymes and prosody are more variegated and therefore more sophisticated than Hank’s. Good on Harry for giving it a try, and she does have some memorable rhymes, but maybe she ought to have stopped with the hip-hop sure shot. Then again, who am I to talk? I made a silly rap song once, so, you know, come visit me in my house of glass. Heart of glass. That one’s coming up later.

Before the man from Mars raps come in, I feature a horn thing that nicely bridges the gap between big-budget disco productions and sparser no wave stuff. Then after the man from Mars goes away I make sure to include one of the pretty and haunting parts. I never before thought to compare Julee Cruise and Debbie Harry, but there you have it, “Rapture’s” chorus connects my dots. I can’t tell what the lyrics are in this section, and the Internet transcriptions are unsatisfyingly incomplete, so here goes my version: “Back to bend / body muscular / Seismic decibel, like a javelin / One to one / teach on technology / And a DJ to add up / no sign of danger / in rapture.” Close, but not quite, and you can see how vain is the disc jockey. I bet you think this song is about you. But never mind that. Here’s a more accurate version of the lyrics I found: “Man to man / body muscular / Seismic decibel / by the jugular / Wall to wall / tea time technology / and a digital ladder / No sign of bad luck / in rapture.” No idea what tea time technology is.

And at any rate all I can hear is “Step into a World” from KRS-One, which song’s subtitle is “Rapture’s Delight.” I played the I Got Next CD in my car a lot and never looked at the liner notes, never saw the song’s title or subtitle, so it was years before I began to appreciate Blondie and made the conscious connection to the KRS-One melody’s origin. Step into a world indeed; just make sure no one chows down on your ride.