"An avid Blondie fan I remember not knowing what to think about this record when I first heard it. Listening to it now I realize that Deborah was way ahead of her time. The stand out song for me in "Now I Know You Know" which is the most beautiful jazz ballad I've ever heard. I wish someone would do a remix of it. Other great songs include Chrome and Inner City Spill Over. I think if Deborah had kept her Blondie Persona this album would have been a huge hit. She should of made sure that she had everyone one that she started with before jumping off and doing something as bold and daring as this. However Deborah's willingness to venture into new and untried territory is one of the things I love and admire about her. Buy this CD and give it a good listen. It will grow on you. I notice that people always put this record down but how funny it is that it is still in print and selling almost 20 years later."
Debbie Does Her Own Thing
Andre S. Grindle | Brewer Maine | 03/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After four highly sucessful albums with the group Blondie the multi-talented Debbie Harry decided to make a go of a solo career.She very wisely chose the production team of Chic's Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers for the studio work-their groups influnce was heard strongly on Blondie's "Rapture" a year earlier and on songs such as "Jump Jump","Surrender" and "Backfired" Harry does a superb job of bettering that earlier tune's funky rock approch.But characteristically she is too much of a musical eclectic to remain confined to a single style-"Jam Was Moving" and "Chrome" both have a spikey new-wave approch whilst maintaining a strong groove while on "Inner City Spillover" she flirts with a poppish reggae rhythm.The ballad "Now I Know You Know" has a much more melodramatic reading then anything Blondie ever did and she continues to maintain her own experimental elan throughout the rest of the album.So to end this review to I prefer 'Koo Koo' to Blondie last three records?I wouldn't say that but while Blondie was (as Harry has admitted) more from the new wave rock scene this album stands out with a much more groove centered funk style.They're all matched to terrific songs but this album was a success for her and,such as it was something of a final nail in Blondie's coffin as a group.But still,what a way to begin a career!"
A very Chic Debbie Harry!
Nse Ette | Lagos, Nigeria | 04/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These days, it is practically de rigeur for stars like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Madonna or Gwen Stefani to hook up with Timbaland, or Pharrell or will.i.am, but back in 1981, it wasn't common for an established white star to hook up with a black music producer, especially one from a punk rock group. That was exactly what happened when Blondie front woman Debbie Harry decided to release her solo debut. After the success of her band's last album "Autoamerican" (which had two US #1 hits in "Rapture" and "The tide is high"), Debbie gave Chic frontmen Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards a call and the result was "Koo koo".
The album comprised ten songs, four written by Rogers & Edwards, four written by Harry and her Blondie partner Chris Stein, and two written in collaboration with Rogers and Edwards. The cover art was an attempt to ditch her Blondie persona and was rather startling; a brunette Harry with giant metal skewers drilled through her face, and that was just the front cover. The inner sleeve photo looked even more alien with some robotic textures to her skin. I just knew I had to hide the record from view each time my mum went past, or else she would have taken righteous delight in destroying that "demonic record".
And the music? An attempt at the sonic variety Blondie had experimented with on "Autoamerican" but with an emphasis on dance/funk. The songs penned by Rogers & Edwards were the scratchy disco/funk Chic were known for; lead-off single "Backfired" a #43 US hit (and featuring a rap by Rogers, well before anyone else was doing it), the incredibly funky hand clap filled "The jam was moving" #82 in the US (and telling the funny story of a quest by the F.B.I. to find out just what it was in the music that had people all over the nation dancing, set to a skeletal bassline), "Surrender" (with a wicked guitar solo at the end), and the beautiful jazzy ballad "Now I know you know" with crystal clear vocals by Harry in her upper register (and a lovely guitar/sax coda). I've always loved Rogers & Edwards brilliant ballads like "Savoir faire" (Chic), "Now that you're gone" (Diana Ross) and "I'm a good girl" (Sister Sledge) to mention a few, and this is along those lines.
The four co-written with Stein included the opening razor sharp pop/funk "Jump jump" (a silly tale about her little doggie set to an incredibly groovy bassline), the slow chugging rock of "Chrome", the reggae "Inner city spillover" (again, with very silly abstract lyrics about a lady who had a brick fall on her bed while in bed, but with an incredible dub bassline), and the horrid "Military rap" (another attempt at Rap by Harry after "Rapture" which was very good and groovy).
The pair written with Rogers & Edwards comprise the brief rock burst "Under arrest" and the Middle Eastern tinged "Oasis" (the title of the album was taken from the lyrics of this song).
There was a reluctance by radio to play songs off the album which Nile Rogers ascribed to racism, but the album managed to be certified Gold in the US and hit #28 in the US and #6 in the UK. I loved this album and was rather worried I wouldn't be able to get in on CD but what do you know, here it is with two bonus extended versions of "Backfired" (rather redundant in my opinion) and "The jam was moving" (now, this I like, as the original ran just under 3 minutes).
Critics usually slag off this album but hey, what do they know. After this, Nile Rogers would go on to produce more pop and rock acts like Madonna ("Like a virgin"), The B-52s ("Cosmic thing"), Duran Duran ("Notorious") and David Bowie ("Let's dance") among others.
Todd Johnson | Lakeland, Florida United States | 07/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In Debbie's first solo outing, she sheds the punk side of her for the funk side! In choosing the Chic Orginization (Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of "Le Freak" fame) for production, Debbie shows a knack for starting trends (Rodgers and Edwards would soon produce for Madonna and Duran Duran). Though many a critic have denounced Debbie's singing ability, I can't see how they can overlook the stunning beauty of her voice on songs like "Now I Know You Know" and it's R&B flavor on "Backfired". Once again, listen to me- not the hacks passing themselves off as critics! This album's sexy playfulness sounds just as good against a Toni Braxton album, but was done well before Ms. Braxton's time! Debbie truly is a trend setter and this album proves it!"
PRE-URBAN CROSSOVER ARTIST SKEWERS OWN HEAD
Todd Johnson | 01/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This crazy white girl put nails through her head to make you people happy. Do you people know no limits?? Give it up for Debbie for working with Nile Rogers years before Madonna gave birth to "Like A Virgin" doing the same thing. Debbie was Urban (i.e. black) way before it was cool. I listen to this and I still can't believe the set of balls this woman had to record this in 1981. Of course she wrote "Rapture" the year before, who else? I give her major props. You should too."