Blondie -‘Parallel Lines’ (Chrysalis, 1978)
The thing about getting into pop music in 1986 was that the stuff in the charts was pretty poor, only I didn’t realise it at the time. And it meant that my introduction to many artists was not what it should have been iether. Just as my intorduction to Bowie was that awful duet, so my introduction to the wonderful Debbie Harry was the not so great (in retrospect) ‘French Kissin’ In the USA,’ which was the second ever 7″ I bought, and the first one of my records ever to get broken (in a fight with my little brother a couple of weeks later). I did gradually pick up on Blondie through various compilations and heard this album when I was about fourteen.
Yes, Blondie is a band, as the t-shirts read in the 1970s. And out of the six studio albums they made before they first split up in 1982, Parallel Lines is the strongest. My second favourite album of the seventies after Low, though you’d be hard pressed to find two records so different. This is POP. And yes, that’s down to the production as well as the songs.
And you cannot argue with the songs (well, you can, but if you do, you’re a twat). The singles are phenomenal -‘Sunday Girl’ ‘Heart Of Glass’ ‘Picture This’ ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ but so too are the album tracks like ‘One Way Or Another’ ‘Fade Away and Radiate’ ’11:59.’
And sure, I think Debbie Harry’s gorgeous on the front cover (does anyone else think she looks like a school teacher with the guys in Blondie as kids? Oh, just me then.). And getting to see them live in 2004 was great. But even if I’d never got any of the visual aesthetics associated with this, this is pretty much pop perfection. A party record, pop meets punk without either side losing face…what more can you ask for?
For some reason Chrysalis have disabled every bloody copy of ‘Heart of Glass’ so follow this link to see it