Album Review ? Blondie: Parallel Lines

When folks picked up Parallel Lines due to its inclusion of the worldwide smash “Heart of Glass,” it’s a wonder they didn’t sue Blondie for using bait-and-switch tactics. For “Heart of Glass” was unabashed disco (albeit rather more lyrically ironic that most other songs of the genre), while the rest of the album — well, isn’t.

After releasing two albums to general indifference, Blondie finally hit on a winning formula with producer Mike Chapman, who smoothed out the band’s rough edges and made their power pop/new wave mix more palatable for the mainstream (the album reached #6 in the charts).

For while the album spun off a number of hit singles, both in this country and abroad — the pumping drive of “Hanging on the Telephone” and “One Way or Another” contrasting nicely with cool chic of “Sunday Girl” and the more plaintive “Picture This” — even the “lesser” tracks make Parallel Lines a pleasure to listen to from start to finish, a sure sign that a record is a classic album.

And of those non-single tracks, “Pretty Baby” brings girl group stylings into the modern age, “Will Anything Happen?” presents the other side of the “One Way or Another” scenario, and the cover of Buddy Holly’s “I’m Gonna Love You Too” shows how the group can kick up their heels and have good giddy fun like anybody else. And of course having the irresistible groove of a track like “Heart of Glass” doesn’t hurt either.

This 30th anniversary Collector’s Edition has four bonus tracks: the U.S. single version of “Heart of Glass” (about two minutes shorter than the album version), the French single version of “Sunday Girl,” and two pointless dance remixes of “Hanging on the Telephone” and “Fade Away and Radiate.” Perhaps there are few outtakes from the sessions; the 2001 edition of the CD just had an early version of “Heart of Glass” and three live cuts. But this edition also includes a DVD, with the original videos for “Heart of Glass,” “Hanging on the Telephone,” and “Picture This” and “Sunday Girl” from a 1979 Top of the Pops appearance that are all great fun to watch

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