The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- An outstanding copy of Blondie's One True Masterpiece with Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- The powerful sound of this Power Pop Classic really comes through here - and that's not a claim you can make about very many copies
- There's not a bad song to be found on the album, and lots of great ones: "One Way Or Another," "Heart Of Glass (here in an extended version)," "Hanging On The Telephone," etc.
- 5 stars: "Blondie's best album," which is actually a bit of an understatement - it's by far their best album
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All the Blondie magic you could ever want is in these grooves. The truly powerful sound of this Power Pop Classic really comes through on this bad boy -- and that's simply not a claim you could make about too many copies out there in record land, which tend to be flat, opaque and compressed. Not so here. This one just plain rocks.
Can this kind of music get any better? This album is a Masterpiece of Pure Pop, ranking right up there with The Cars' first album. I can't think of many albums from the era with the perfect blend of writing, production and musicianship under the guidance of producer Mike Chapman (The Knack) Blondie achieved with Parallel Lines.
As expected, if you clean and play enough copies of a standard domestic major label album such as Parallel Lines eventually you will stumble upon The One, and boy did we ever. The very best copies in our recent shootout were off the charts with presence, breathy vocals, and punchy drums. On top of that they were positively swimming in studio ambience, with every instrument occupying its own space in the mix and surrounded by air.
What The Best Sides Of Parallel Lines Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1978
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We're Listening For On Parallel Lines
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
LIFE Is Grand
At the risk of being definitive about things that are better left ill-defined, I would say that the Number One quality we look for in a pressing is that element of Life or Energy. We can put up with a great many shortcomings, including even some tonality problems, but when a record fails to convey the spirit and enthusiasm of the musicians, it's pretty much over.
Gone is the compressed muck of the MoFi (and most domestic pressings, to be fair). In its place is the kind of clarity, transparency and pure rock and roll power previous pressings only hinted at. I became a giant fan of this album the moment I heard it, but the sound always left something to be desired. So many copies were thick, smeary, opaque and compressed. The music was cookin' but the sound always seemed to be holding it back.
And like an idiot I'm sure I traded my original domestic pressing in for the MoFi when it came out in the early '80s, the kind of dumbass audiophile move I made again and again until I wised up years later.
Now we know better. At least if you're on this site you do.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
A Must Own Pop Record
We consider this Blondie album their Masterpiece. It's a recording that should be part of any serious popular Music Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Hanging on the Telephone
- One Way or Another
- Picture This
- Fade Away and Radiate
- Pretty Baby
- I Know But I Don't Know
- Will Anything Happen?
- Sunday Girl
- Heart of Glass
- Gonna Love You Too
- Just Go Away
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
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.