After a short trip to the 1990s it is back to the 1970s I go where I am listening to one of my favourite albums of that era; Parallel Lines by Blondie. A band that I got know at a young age with the release of ‘Maria’ in 1999 which I liked so much that I was given a copy of Blondie’s greatest hits. I listened to that album a lot, falling for tracks such as ‘Atomic’, ‘Hanging on The Telephone’, ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘One Way Or Another’ (not so much ‘Tide is High’… and I only got into ‘Rapture’ within the last five or so years). I only listened to Parallel Lines as an studio album in my final years of secondary school.
Thinking about it… Blondie actually helped to shape my overall music taste. A strong female voice. Pop music. Attitude. Never made that connection before. Cool.
Anyway, we have Parallel Lines which acted as the crossover success that propelled Blondie to the top of the charts around the world and ensured that they are an act that music will likely never ever forget. It saw them adopting pop music in the place of their punk rock roots (although it is still there in ‘Would Anything Happen’) and, controversially at the time, even take on disco in their million-selling single (in the UK anyway) ‘Heart of Glass’.
The strange thing about going from the Greatest Hits to Parallel Lines is that the latter album plays like a best of album. Half of the tracklist ended up being released as singles anyway and the remaining six songs are all so tightly written and varied that it is hard to get bored. Of the non-singles there are two stand outs that could have easily been singles in their own right; ‘Just Go Away’ and ‘Fade Away and Radiate’. The former is a bitchy schoolgirl track that I used a lot as a featured song on MSN when I was talking to people I didn’t like (I was 16) and then there is the latter… which is creepy, beautiful an unlike anything else I have heard Blondie record.
As albums go it is infinitely cool and incredibly catchy. A rare instance of pop music that can be openly listened to without derision from any passers-by. Unlike Steps…