[109] Blondie – Parallel Lines

8 May

This is what it sounds like when a punk band has a genuine vocalist.


Blondie may not strictly be punk, but listening to this collection of familiar singles and unknown album tracks, I can hear the anger and intensity of punk guiding every spiky guitar stab, every hectic drum fill.  Add Debbie Harry’s crooning and the slick production, Parallel Lines becomes candy-coated and almost universally palatable.

This juxtaposition of the rough with the smooth is the reason for both the success and longevity of these songs.

The singles are hugely catchy pop morsels which straddle the end of Disco and the beginning of New Wave.  Each is tasty and  perfectly formed but there is far more here than just the hits “Sunday Girl”, “Hanging on the Telephone”, “One Way Or Another”, or even the sublime “Heart of Glass”.

It is the deep cuts which catch my ear.

Sometimes familiarity can make you take a band, a song, a sound for granted.  In the case of Blondie, listening to the singles yet again is merely nostalgic comfort.  But  hearing the album tracks for the first time both surprises and reinforces my initial response to the band – there is more in play here than can be seen at first glance.

There are layers upon layers: the straight ahead energy and the almost three-chord simplicity of structure; the nuanced and vaguely laid-back delivery from Harry; the slick and commercial synth-coated production values over it all.  And somehow the layers enhance each other, combining rather than separating the disparate flavors.

Here is the very moment in musical time just before the overproduction of the 80s kicked in.

And “Will Anything Happen” now reigns supreme as my favorite pining-for-an-ex song (knocking off former champ, “Kiss The Bride” by Elton John) which combines just the right amount of nostalgia, desperation and sleaze.

Next Week:  Bloque – Bloque

Owned before blogging? No. (10 of 109 = 9%)
Heard before blogging? No. (16 of 109 = 15%)
Recommend? Yes. (90 of 109 = 83%)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


podcasts for the musically obsessed


Days in the life


My rants, outbursts and musings.

Every number one

Journey through all the songs that topped the charts

musicophilesblog - From Keith Jarrett to Johannes Brahms

Writing About and Reviewing Classical Music and Jazz

Leaves of Logan

Rants, reviews, rambles and a whole lot of books

Punk Rock Reviews

Reviewing Music

Team Distraction

Dicemasters Strategy

Good Music Speaks

A music blog written by Rich Brown

Kenza Moller

writing | editing | marketing

The Delinquent Diplomat

The Diplomacy Player's Blog Of Choice

Sampling Station

Tasty tunes, laughs, TV + film

The Immortal Jukebox

A Blog about Music and Popular Culture

%d bloggers like this: