Blondie is an American rock band co-founded by singer Debbie Harry, and guitarists Chris Stein and Ivan Kral.
The band were pioneers in the American punk and then the new wave scene of the early 1970s New York. Its first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although highly successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles including “Heart of Glass”, “Call Me”, “Rapture” and “The Tide Is High”. The band became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco, pop, reggae, and early rap music.
Blondie disbanded after the release of its sixth studio album, The Hunter, in 1982. Debbie Harry continued to pursue a solo career with varied results after taking a few years off to care for partner Chris Stein, who was diagnosed with pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin. The band re-formed in 1997, achieving renewed success and a number one single in the United Kingdom with “Maria” in 1999, exactly 20 years after their first UK No.1 single (“Heart of Glass”). Here are all of the Blondie Albums ranked.
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7. Pollinator (2017)
“Blondie must be admired for not resting on their laurels. They could easily tour for the cash and nothing else, but they instead choose to forge ahead and create. Five albums into their second act after reforming in the late-nineties, this album sits right next to my other favorite, The Curse of Blondie. Pollinator has the sound of a cracking band playing together with full force and the enthusiasm to match. Debbie sounds bored out of her mind singing One Way or Another these days, but when it comes to new music, she swallows it whole and spits it out. It’s unfortunate that nearly every review or interview seems to focus on her age; what’s age got to do with making good music? Why hang up your hat when you still want to create?
I love the whole album.”
6. No Exit (1999)
“In many ways this is one Blondie album that not only matches their earlier outputs but, in many ways – surpasses them! Having just recently purchased the whole of Blondie’s output (attended a recent show and was blown away) I had the luxury of reviewing each record with fresh ears. This record still captures that classic Blondie sound but with a much more sophisticated angle. The band is top-notch – the production is superb, the songs are excellent! “Maria” has to rank as one of the finest songs, ever!”
5. Autoamerican (1980)
“Autoamerican” is the crème de la crème of Blondie albums. “Autoamerican” is in a league of its own, and I find challenging to describe the different sounds, but I’ll do my best. First off, guitarist Chris Stein decided he wanted an orchestra on many of the tracks. Which is evident on the instrumental track, “Europa”. This is the perfect way to open the album because it gives the rest of the songs an avant-garde/stylized sound. “Europa” has no vocal, instead towards the end, Debbie does a speaking vocal and talks about the importance of the auto industry. The other tracks that have an orchestra include: “Go Through It” and “Follow Me” which is a cover from the Broadway musical, “Camelot”. Also, “Here’s Looking At You” and “Faces” (jazz numbers) feature an orchestra. “Here’s Looking At You” is more upbeat and has a touch of vaudeville, whereas “Faces” is a more serious, torch-inspired ballad. Debbie’s vocals are beautiful and exquisite on both jazz tracks. But “Autoamerican” isn’t a total departure of the classic Blondie sound. There’s a couple of fun rock/pop tracks, “Walk Like Me” and “T-Birds” which I believe should’ve been released as a single.
There’s something I also noticed about the songs on “Autoamerican”. The tracks have a cool sexiness about them. It’s a mixture of great music/writing, great rhythm, and the great vocal delivery of Debbie Harry. I guess what I’m REALLY trying to say is “Autoamerican” is a classic. This is a must-have if you’re a fan of albums that aren’t safe or predictable. I highly recommend it. Enjoy!”
4. Plastic Letters (1977)
“Blondie’s second album, 1977’s “Plastic Letters” possesses a more modern yet darker sound than their 1976 debut. Opening strong with “Fan Mail”, awash with futuristic blips-and-bleeps and a terrific growl from Debbie, “Letters” as an album never lags or bores and takes the listener on a series of musical valleys and peaks. From straight-ahead retro pop like “Denis” and “(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear” to darker Euro-flavored fare like “Contact In Red Square”, and tragic story-songs like “Bermuda Triangle Blues” (the verses are dramatically framed by Jimmy Destri’s shrieking keyboards), this album never falters.
The punk spirit explodes on rousing rockers like “Youth Nabbed as Sniper” and “Detroit 442” (Drummer Clem Burke’s shining moment here) and there’s even the bluesy, finger-snapping “Kidnapper” (which feature’s Debbie’s grittiest vocals on the album) and torchy “No Imagination” for variety.”
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3. Blondie (1976)
“Blondie were a fascinating new wave band. And their self-titled debut album is the best place to start. This album was probably the band’s most “new wave” sounding record. But even from the beginning, the band always cleverly mixed different musical genres into their songs. You can hear a touch of bluegrass on the sassy, “Little Girl Lies”, and you can also hear a little bit of Southern California pop on “In The Sun” and “Man Overboard”. Debbie Harry was and STILL is an accessible, outrageously talented singer/songwriter. Her voice can fluctuate between a soft, sexy alto on the deeply romantic, “In The Flesh”. And then her voice can take on a feisty, soprano edge on my personal favorite, the deliciously snarky, “Rip Her To Shreds”. Of course the rest of the band were extremely talented as well. Co-founder Chris Stein (Debbie’s boyfriend at the time) demonstrates his genius brilliantly on the avant-garde, “The Attack of the Giant Ants” which is filled with trippy, sound-effects and a gorgeous piano solo at the end of the track. Keyboardist Jimmy Destri proved he always that effortless, pop sensibility and a flair for spacy synths on tracks like “Look Good in Blue” and “A Shark in Jets Clothing”. Everyone KNOWS Clem Burke was the “brain” behind Blondie’s signature sound. His drumming and timing were impeccable! Bassist Gary Valentine was also a vital part of the band, even though this was the ONLY Blondie record he is featured on. Valentine left the band a year later, but he still left us with a great track, the risqué opener, “X Offender”. There isn’t one bad song on Blondie’s debut album.”
2. Eat to the Beat (1979)
“Eat to the Beat was the first Blondie album the public was waiting for and while it received great reviews and eventually went platinum, it seemed a little underrated at the time or perhaps just a little neglected as Parallel Lines is what many fans were still hooked on. But I would say Eat to the Beat is a slightly better album because it fully absorbed the New Wave sound into the rock mainstream. New Wave was no longer a label nor a safer term to describe punk as it became mass-accepted. The band once said this was their quickest album to record, just having come off the road before beginning their first U.S. tour as headliners. This is also their most raw and rockin’ album. Debbie’s lyrics have never had more poetic expression on songs like “Dreaming,” and “Union City Blue,” while her voice has never had more edgy allure. Harry’s allure continues on songs like “Shayla”, the pop lullaby “Sound-A-Sleep,” and “Atomic,”(now a dance classic having been remixed numerous times). But Harry never sounded more punk as she screams from the depths of her soul, “I don’t want you to go, please don’t leave me alone,” on “Victor.” What many fans may not remember is how this album’s attempt to cover several musical bases worked(unlike 1980’s AutoAmerican where the group received a mostly poor reception). Before the reggae flavored, “The Tide is High,” there was “Die Young, Stay Pretty,” “The Hardest Part” moved to a funk groove, and “Accidents Never Happen,” a personal favorite, is one of the best songs Debbie and the band ever brought to vinyl.”
1.Parallel Lines (1978)
“Parallel Lines” is one classy AND classic record. The band underwent some changes back in 1978. They added bassist Nigel Harrison to the line-up, and this was their first record produced by Mike Chapman. Chapman would go on to produce the band’s subsequent records, “Eat To The Beat”, “Autoamerican”, and “The Hunter”. Chapman was a very different producer than Richard Gottehrer (who produced Blondie’s first 2 studio albums). Gottehrer supported and nurtured the band’s signature sound, whereas Chapman pushed the band to expand and strengthen their musical palette. Chapman thought each member of the band had something special to offer, but he felt the band lacked focus and needed a better work ethic. He demanded tighter arrangements and every note had to be close to perfection. Some albums don’t age well, but it’s safe to say that “Parallel Lines” isn’t one of them. It still sounds fresh, innovative, and gutsy all these decades later. I don’t consider “Parallel Lines” to be Blondie’s best album, (that honor goes to the sophisticated, “Autoamerican”) but I do think it was their most accomplished. Enjoy!”