Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Parallel Lines" by Blondie (1978)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

Filed Between: Norman Blake and Blood, Sweat & Tears (Previously Reviewed)

Fun Fact: This is the best band ever fronted by a Playboy centerfold model.

Fun Fact #2: I didn't realize just how many songs I knew from this record.  I had forgotten that Sunday Girl and I'm Gonna Love You Too.  After hearing them for the first time in over thirty years, I remember just how much I like them.

"All I want is 20/20 vision, a total portrait with no omissions."

Key Tracks:
Hanging on the Telephone, Fade Away and Radiate, and Will Anything Happen? are really good.  Oh yeah, and I will declare unashamedly that I jumped up and started doing the hustle in my basement when Heart of Glass came on.  (Okay, it was actually closer to the electric slide.)

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
I Know but I Don't Know misses its goal of being an Iggy Pop song by miles.  It is also yet another instance of paying the price for replacing the lead singer with "some other dude in the band."  It happens to be the last track on the first side.  Just Go Away is the last track on the second side and it happens to be just as bad.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Recommended Listening (3/4 stars)

Blondie has always been a band that loves to genre-hop.  By the eighties, they would experiment with ska, rap and much more.  But in 1978, it was clear that they wanted to rock.  And rock they do.  While the building blocks of new wave are most definitely present on "Parallel Lines," there are also strong elements of theatrical arena rock.  This is a rather weird LP to say the least.

And along those lines... If I had no context for it, I would have sworn this was made in the mid-nineties.  It absolutely SOUNDS like the music that came out in the mid-nineties.  I guess I should say that the music that came out in the mid-nineties absolutely sounds like Blondie.  I have this vision of Gwen Stefani and that chick from Belly (and whoever wrote the songs for The Spice Girls) spinning "Parallel Lines" and furiously scribbling down notes.

So, is it an album?  No.  "Parallel Lines" rocks, but it still jumps all the hell over the place.  If you go listen to the key tracks, they sound like they were made by completely different bands.

Up next, we get back to the eighties' country chanteuse thing with "Seven Year Ache" by Rosanne Cash.

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