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BLONDIE'S (LIL NAS) X FACTOR

The 8/5 set by new-wave trailblazers Blondie (who co-headlined with Elvis Costello) at L.A.'s Greek Theatre mingled old hits and more recent material, but one of the biggest surprises came when the band launched into Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road."

Another surprise: It didn't really feel out of place.

It can certainly be argued that the world's biggest song offers the world's most capacious bandwagon, and it's almost easier to number the artists who haven't assayed it in some way. It's a level of cultural saturation akin to The Beatles' material.

But the fact that "Old Town Road" fit rather seamlessly into Blondie's set also spoke to the way Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke and company have always managed to absorb different musical currents—disco, hip-hop, reggae, EDM—while maintaining their own musical signature. You'll recall their genius rap excursion "Rapture," also part of the Greek set, rolled out in 1981. That's 18 years before little Lil Nas rolled out of the delivery room.

Meanwhile, what musical niche will the indefatigable "Road" infiltrate next?

 

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