MR|Review- Blondie, "Parallel Lines"

Blondie’s classic “Parallel Lines” isn’t nearly the tour-de-force I expected after reading Pitchfork’s review of this year’s reissue.

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Given a near-perfect 9.7 rating and called the group’s best, “easily,” (Allmusic agrees with a 5/5) I figured it was my time to take the plunge into the group’s work.

Do you have those lists of bands that you know are classic, that you should really get into at some point? I do. Sometimes they’re great: The Clash, Depeche Mode, and Neil Young are all artists I came to intentionally, after those formative high school years, and have come to treasure. I hoped Blondie could be added to the list.

I’ve gotten off track – “Parallel Lines” is a solid pop album that straddles new wave and bubblegum. I’m fully prepared to be raked over the coals by Blondie fans.

But the hooks aren’t any catchier than those of a thousand over new wave bands, and they’re not subversive or tough enough to take the record to the next level. If you’re not into Blondie, put them at the bottom of your get-into-them-someday list, or cherry pick some hits from iTunes.

MR|Review directs readers’ limited attention among works via ratings, and within works via prose, focusing on works where our opinion diverges from critical or popular consensus, or we have significant insight that compliments or challenges readers’ aesthetic experience.