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Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Capitol Records

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Blondie turned to British pop producer Mike Chapman for their third album, on which they abandoned any pretensions to new wave legitimacy (just in time, given the decline of the new wave) and emerged as a pure pop band. But it wasn't just Chapman that made Parallel Lines Blondie's best album; it was the band's own songwriting, including Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, and James Destri's "Picture This," and Harry and Stein's "Heart of Glass," and Harry and new bass player Nigel Harrison's "One Way or Another," plus two contributions from nonbandmember Jack Lee, "Will Anything Happen?" and "Hanging on the Telephone." That was enough to give Blondie a number one on both sides of the Atlantic with "Heart of Glass" and three more U.K. hits, but what impresses is the album's depth and consistency -- album tracks like "Fade Away and Radiate" and "Just Go Away" are as impressive as the songs pulled for singles. The result is state-of-the-art pop/rock circa 1978, with Harry's tough-girl glamour setting the pattern that would be exploited over the next decade by a host of successors led by Madonna. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

The basic Blondie sextet was augmented, or replaced, by numerous session musicians (including lots of uncredited horn and string players) for the group's fifth album, Autoamerican, on which they continued to expand their stylistic range, with greater success, at least on certain tracks, than they had on Eat to the Beat. A cover of Jamaican group the Paragons' "The Tide Is High," released in advance of the album, became a gold-selling number one single, as did the rap pastiche "Rapture," but, despite their presence, the album stalled in the lower half of the Top Ten and spent fewer weeks in the charts than either of its predecessors. One reason for that, admittedly, was that Chrysalis Records pulled promotion of the disc in favor of pushing lead singer Debbie Harry's debut solo album, KooKoo, not even bothering to release a third single after scoring two chart-topping hits. But then, it's hard to imagine what that third single could have been on an album that leads off with a pretentious string-filled instrumental ("Europa"), and also finds Harry crooning ersatz '20s pop on "Here's Looking at You" and tackling Broadway show music in a cover of "Follow Me" from Camelot. Though more characteristic, the rest of the tracks are weak compositions indifferently executed. Thus Autoamerican was memorable only for its hits, which would be better heard when placed on a hits compilation. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

If you consulted a Blondie discography in the fall of 2002, you would see a slew of compilations listed, and you might wonder why a new Greatest Hits was needed. But a closer examination would reveal that there really is a niche into which such a collection would fall: that of a full-priced, single-disc, CD-era hits compilation covering the band's entire career. Although still in print, The Best of Blondie is a 12-track release from the LP era, first issued back in 1981 in between Blondie's fifth and sixth regular albums. 1988's Once More Into the Bleach combines Blondie and Debbie Harry solo tracks. 1993's Blonde & Beyond is a rarities set. 1994's The Platinum Collection fills two CDs and is thus pricey. 1995's The Remix Project contains remixes. There have also been short, discount-priced collections and overseas compilations, but the niche remains -- and Greatest Hits fills it. It contains among its 19 tracks all ten of the band's U.S. chart singles as well as their major U.K. hits that did not chart in America. "X Offender," Blondie's 1976 debut single, is included, and so is "Maria," their 1999 comeback hit. By sequencing the album out of chronological order, the compilers emphasize the band's eclecticism. You don't get to hear Blondie's evolution from their early bubblegum punk style into the efficient power pop of the Mike Chapman productions and on into ersatz disco, rap, and Caribbean music; everything is all mixed up. The tropical 1980-1981 hit "The Tide Is High," for example, is followed by the belligerent "X Offender" from four years earlier, and the tough-talking "Rip Her to Shreds" gives way to the early hip-hop of "Rapture." Chronological order would have been better, but the hits are all here. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

If new wave was about reconfiguring and recontextualizing simple pop/rock forms of the '50s and '60s in new, ironic, and aggressive ways, then Blondie, which took the girl group style of the early and mid-'60s and added a '70s archness, fit right in. True punksters may have deplored the group early on (they never had the hip cachet of Talking Heads or even the Ramones), but Blondie's secret weapon, which was deployed increasingly over their career, was a canny pop straddle -- they sent the music up and celebrated it at the same time. So, for instance, songs like "X Offender" (their first single) and "In the Flesh" (their first hit, in Australia) had the tough-girl-with-a-tender-heart tone of the Shangri-Las (the disc was produced by Richard Gottehrer, who had handled the Angels ["My Boyfriend's Back"] among others, and Brill Building songwriter Ellie Greenwich even sang backup on "In the Flesh"), while going one step too far into hard-edged decadence -- that is, if you chose to see that. (The tag line of "Look Good in Blue," for example, went, "I could give you some head and shoulders to lie on.") The whole point was that you could take Blondie either way, and lead singer Deborah Harry's vocals, which combined rock fervor with a kiss-off quality, reinforced that, as did the band's energetic, trashy sound. This album, released on independent label Private Sound, was not a major hit, but it provided a template for the future. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

Blondie turned to British pop producer Mike Chapman for their third album, on which they abandoned any pretensions to new wave legitimacy (just in time, given the decline of the new wave) and emerged as a pure pop band. But it wasn't just Chapman that made Parallel Lines Blondie's best album; it was the band's own songwriting, including Deborah Harry, Chris Stein, and James Destri's "Picture This," and Harry and Stein's "Heart of Glass," and Harry and new bass player Nigel Harrison's "One Way or Another," plus two contributions from nonbandmember Jack Lee, "Will Anything Happen?" and "Hanging on the Telephone." That was enough to give Blondie a number one on both sides of the Atlantic with "Heart of Glass" and three more U.K. hits, but what impresses is the album's depth and consistency -- album tracks like "Fade Away and Radiate" and "Just Go Away" are as impressive as the songs pulled for singles. The result is state-of-the-art pop/rock circa 1978, with Harry's tough-girl glamour setting the pattern that would be exploited over the next decade by a host of successors led by Madonna. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Parlophone Catalogue

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Rock - Released July 16, 2021 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Rock - Released January 1, 1981 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

Although Blondie made several first-rate albums, most of their best songs were released as singles, which makes The Best of Blondie an essential collection. The Best of Blondie glosses over their punk roots -- very little from the first album, apart from the vicious "Rip Her to Shreds" and the seductive "In the Flesh" -- but the band's pop hits are among the finest of their era and encapsulate all of the virtues of new wave. Apart from genuine chart hits like "Heart of Glass," "One Way or Another," "Dreaming," "Call Me," "Atomic," "The Tide Is High," and "Rapture," Best of Blondie picks up several of the group's best album tracks, like "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear" and "Hanging on the Telephone." The Best of Blondie isn't all you need to know, but it is an excellent introduction to one of the best new wave bands. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

Just as Blondie's second album, Plastic Letters, was a pale imitation of their self-titled debut, Eat to the Beat, their fourth album, was a secondhand version of their breakthrough third album, Parallel Lines. There was an attempt, on such songs as "The Hardest Part" and "Atomic," to recreate the rock/disco fusion of the group's one major U.S. hit, "Heart of Glass," without similar success, and, elsewhere, the band just tried to cover too many stylistic bases. "Die Young Stay Pretty," for example, dipped into an island sound complete with modified reggae beat (a foreshadowing of the upcoming hit "The Tide Is High"), and "Sound-a-Sleep" was a lullaby that dragged too much to be a good change of pace. The British, who had long since been converted, made Eat to the Beat another chart-topper, with three major hits, including a number one ranking for "Atomic" and almost the same success for "Dreaming," but in the U.S. the album was greeted for what it was -- slick corporate rock without the tangy flavor that had made Parallel Lines such ear candy. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2013 | Noble ID, LLC

While it's an inarguably good thing that Blondie is still extant in the 21st century, the band's 2014 release Blondie 4(0)-Ever suggests the predicaments imposed by the band's past and present as they acknowledge their 40th anniversary. Blondie 4(0)-Ever bundles together two albums, a collection of new material called Ghosts of Download, and Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux, a re-recorded set of Blondie favorites. While 2011's Panic of Girls suggested that Blondie was striving to make a place in their new music for all of their many influences, Ghosts of Download is an album clearly made with the dancefloor in mind; electronic beats and gleaming synthesized melodies dominate the tunes, and while all members of the current lineup are listed in the credits, except for the vocals and some very occasional guitar lines from Chris Stein, just about everything here appears to have come from a keyboard or a computer program. Ghosts of Download lacks the wit and adventure of Blondie's best moments, and the presence of the numerous guest stars on these sessions (including Beth Ditto of the Gossip and Latin EDM artists Systema Solar) suggest Stein and Deborah Harry struggled to find their own voice within this material, which ignores pop and rock in favor of dance-influenced sounds without the playful downtown cheek of "Heart of Glass" or "Rapture." As for Harry, her vocals are cool, stylish, and well-controlled, but there's a lack of fire or dynamics in her performances that suggests she's chosen a deliberately narrow range as time takes its inevitable toll on her voice (she was 68 years old when she cut these sessions, and while she sounds quite good for her age, she's clearly not the singer she once was). And was anyone really waiting for Blondie to cover Frankie Goes to Hollywood, especially with such a disinterested tone? On disc two, Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux contains newly re-recorded versions of 11 of their better-known sides, and like most examples of an artist re-doing their hits, these performances fall significantly short in a side by side comparison with the originals, though this is livelier than the Ghosts of Download sessions and features the full band playing with professionalism and a certain elan (Clem Burke's drumming is as crisp and forceful as ever). Harry's vocals are more pleasing here as well; while her range is still narrower than in her prime, she cheats the missing notes more gracefully, perhaps because she's been doing it on-stage for some time now. But one would imagine that anyone who is enough of a fan to buy Blondie's 10th studio album in the year 2014 would already own these 11 songs in their original form, and Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux adds little value to this package, nice as it is to hear some of these tunes again. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 1, 1978 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

In artistic terms, Plastic Letters, Blondie's second album, was a classic example of the sophomore slump. If their debut, Blondie, was a precise update of the early-'60s girl group sound, delivered with an ironic, '70s sensibility, its follow-up seemed to consist of leftovers, the songwriting never emerging from obscurity and pedestrian musical tracks. The production (again courtesy of Richard Gottehrer) was once again bright and sharp, but in the service of inferior material it alone couldn't save the collection. The two exceptions to the general mediocrity were "Denis," a revival of Randy & the Rainbows' 1963 hit "Denise," for which Deborah Harry sang a verse in French to justify the name and gender change, and "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear," written by Gary Valentine, who had left Blondie shortly before the recording of the album. Due to these two songs, the album became a commercial success, at least overseas. British-based Chrysalis Records had bought out Private Stock, giving Blondie greater distribution and more of an international marketing focus. The result was that "Denis" broke them in Europe, nearly topping the U.K. charts and followed into the Top Ten by "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear," with the album also peaking in the Top Ten. In the U.S., Blondie finally charted, making the Top 100. The songwriting problem did not seem to bode well, but they would take a distinctly different approach next time out. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2005 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

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Rock - Released May 5, 2017 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

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As the third new Blondie album of the 2010s, Pollinator falls into something of a familiar pattern. Ever since 2011's Panic of Girls, the revived Blondie have been determined to fit within the confines of contemporary music, riding the remnants of the new wave revival and emphasizing electronics. Unlike Ghosts of Download, which was buried as a second disc with a collection of re-recordings of greatest hits in 2014, Pollinator pushes splashy guest stars. Blood Orange co-writes "Long Time" with Debbie Harry, Joan Jett guests on the opener "Doom or Destiny," Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi appears on "Best Day Ever," which he co-wrote with Sia Furler, and the group cover both Johnny Marr ("My Monster") and Charli XCX ("Gravity"). That's a lot of cooks, so it's not entirely a surprise that Pollinator can sometimes seem overheated, only settling into a simmer on "When I Gave Up on You" (which also features a guest in the form of the Gregory Brothers). That said, the sheets of synths and sly nods to the group's disco-punk past don't seem desperate, no matter how aggressive the production is. There's almost a charm in the way Blondie push so hard: it's hard to think of another legacy act so determined to play a part of the modern musical dialogue without losing their identity. If they're not always successful, there's nevertheless something ingratiating about the ambition. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Parlophone Catalogue

What distinguishes this 2009 double-disc collection from all the previous Blondie compilations is that Blondie Singles Collection: 1977-1982 contains all the A- and B-sides from both the 7" and 12" singles. This means that it does include several B-sides that have never shown up on disc before, primarily longer dance mixes and other alternate takes, all of which make this quite enticing to longtime, hardcore Blondie fans. Those not so dedicated should stick with something that only offers the A-sides, but for those who are either devoted to Blondie or new wave, this is the Blondie singles comp to get. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Records

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If you consulted a Blondie discography in the fall of 2002, you would see a slew of compilations listed, and you might wonder why a new Greatest Hits was needed. But a closer examination would reveal that there really is a niche into which such a collection would fall: that of a full-priced, single-disc, CD-era hits compilation covering the band's entire career. Although still in print, The Best of Blondie is a 12-track release from the LP era, first issued back in 1981 in between Blondie's fifth and sixth regular albums. 1988's Once More Into the Bleach combines Blondie and Debbie Harry solo tracks. 1993's Blonde & Beyond is a rarities set. 1994's The Platinum Collection fills two CDs and is thus pricey. 1995's The Remix Project contains remixes. There have also been short, discount-priced collections and overseas compilations, but the niche remains -- and Greatest Hits fills it. It contains among its 19 tracks all ten of the band's U.S. chart singles as well as their major U.K. hits that did not chart in America. "X Offender," Blondie's 1976 debut single, is included, and so is "Maria," their 1999 comeback hit. By sequencing the album out of chronological order, the compilers emphasize the band's eclecticism. You don't get to hear Blondie's evolution from their early bubblegum punk style into the efficient power pop of the Mike Chapman productions and on into ersatz disco, rap, and Caribbean music; everything is all mixed up. The tropical 1980-1981 hit "The Tide Is High," for example, is followed by the belligerent "X Offender" from four years earlier, and the tough-talking "Rip Her to Shreds" gives way to the early hip-hop of "Rapture." Chronological order would have been better, but the hits are all here. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1999 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

Although Blondie made several first-rate albums, most of their best songs were released as singles, which makes The Best of Blondie an essential collection. The Best of Blondie glosses over their punk roots -- very little from the first album, apart from the vicious "Rip Her to Shreds" and the seductive "In the Flesh" -- but the band's pop hits are among the finest of their era and encapsulate all of the virtues of new wave. Apart from genuine chart hits like "Heart of Glass," "One Way or Another," "Dreaming," "Call Me," "Atomic," "The Tide Is High," and "Rapture," Best of Blondie picks up several of the group's best album tracks, like "(I'm Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear" and "Hanging on the Telephone." The Best of Blondie isn't all you need to know, but it is an excellent introduction to one of the best new wave bands. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1999 | Parlophone Catalogue

Atomic: The Very Best of Blondie is a two-disc compilation with a spotty best-of on one disc and a collection of remixes on another. Disc one is a satisfactory overview, containing most of the group's biggest and best hits -- "Atomic," "Heart of Glass," "Rapture," "Hanging on the Telephone," "Rip Her to Shreds," "Tide Is High" -- but several other Blondie compilations do a better job, and they don't come with a disc of remixes that aren't of any interest to casual fans. Some of the remixes are alright, though none of them are worth hearing a second time (and who, besides a DJ, needs four remixes of "Atomic '98"?). © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

Autoamerican was Blondie's last real album (until their 1999 reunion with No Exit), after which the band collapsed in legal problems and solo aspirations. The Hunter was only made because they still owed Chrysalis an album on their contract, and it sounds like the obligatory record it was. "Island of Lost Souls" (the album's only U.S. singles chart entry and, in fact, the only song released as a single in the U.S.) was a try at remaking "The Tide Is High," while "The Beast" tried to re-create at least the rap section of "Rapture." "War Child," which made the U.K. Top 40, was a dance rock effort in the style of "Call Me," and one of two somewhat autobiographical Debbie Harry lyrics, along with "English Boys." (Harry wrote all the album's words except for those to keyboard player Jimmy Destri's "Danceway" and the cover of the Marvelettes' 1967 hit "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game," which was written by Smokey Robinson.) "For Your Eyes Only" had been intended as the theme song for the 1981 James Bond film, but rejected (rightly) in favor of a competing entry by Bill Conti and Mike Leeson that went on to become a Top Five hit for Sheena Easton. The rest of the material was equally second-rate, consisting of funk-rock tracks with the barest of melodies, and lyrics that ranged from impenetrable ("Orchid Club") to incoherent (the science fiction epic "Dragonfly," which alternated recited and sung sections having something to do with a spaceship race). Blondie was always a band with ideas -- musical, lyrical, and visual -- but The Hunter found them running short conceptually as well practically. It was a disappointing end. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Chrysalis\EMI Records (USA)

Though Debbie Harry has generally worked in a pop/rock vein, she's had her share of exposure in dance clubs thanks to hits like "Heart of Glass," "Rapture," and the Chic-produced "Backfired." In 1988 -- a few years after she had left Chrysalis -- the label set out to exploit her club/dance appeal with Once More Into the Bleach, a generally decent, though not exceptional, collection of remixes. Those singles were obvious choices for this CD, which ranges from Blondie classics (including "Call Me," "Sunday Girl," and "The Tide Is High") to such solo material as "Feel the Spin" and the humorous "French Kissin' in the USA." The most interesting remixes here include a house-influenced version of "Backfired," and a Europop recasting of "Denis." But despite its strong points, Bleach is a collection that only the more devoted Blondie/Harry fanatics and club/dance DJs should look into. Those checking her out for the first time would be much better off with 1976's Blondie or 1978's Parallel Lines. © Alex Henderson /TiVo