It is known that I have certain musical tastes that, so to speak, diverge from the mainstream. Despite my affinity for hyper-minimal glitchy stuff and 8-bit computer square waves and outright noise and glitch, I do like the occasional softer fare. Blondie’s “Parallel Lines”, for example, is one of my favourite albums. When “Hanging on the Telephone” was released for Rock Band, it was an instant purchase. So it was a bit of a surprise to see it reviewed in, of all places, Pitchfork today. 30 years after its original release, it’s likely older than most of their reviewers on staff.
They praise the album, giving it a highly respectable 9.7 (I will spare you from a rant about the idiotic 100 point scale with respect to reviewing something so subjective as music) and make some good points about its place in pop music lore.
The lush, shiny sound of Blondie still greatly informs European pop– which pulls less from hip-hop and R&B than its American counterpart– as evidenced by the Continent’s best recent pop architects and artists (producers Richard X and Xenomania, plus Robyn, Girls Aloud, and Annie); in America, however, the group is oddly seems tied to the past, a product of its era.
Now that I am on the other side of the Atlantic, I agree with that sentiment. The reason is simple. A Xenomania produced track, by the young songstress Gabriella Cilmi, has planted itself firmly in my head. I hear it on the radio all the time here and I admit to liking it a lot. It’s not exactly a guilty pleasure — it’s not corny enough for that — but it’s as far from some of my other tastes as you can get.
She has a great voice but there’s one thing I can’t quite get over. Blondie’s “Parallel Lines” is nearly twice as old as. She was born in 1991. The nineties. Christ am I starting to feel like an old fogey.