Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Parallel Lines (Deluxe Collector's Edition)

On their third album, dapper New Yorkers launched the first of four No. 1 singles

Parallel Lines was a perfect album in 1978 and hasn't gained a pound since--every song memorable, distinct, well-shaped and over before you get antsy. Never again did singer Deborah Harry, mastermind Chris Stein and their able four-man cohort nail the band's signature paradoxes with such unfailing flair: lowbrow class, tender sarcasm, pop rock. Some tracks stand out from the perfect pack even so--the exquisitely Brooklynese "Hanging on the Telephone," the dreamily unpinnable "Sunday Girl," the mock-noir, girl-hunts-boy "One Way or Another." And don't ignore this version's four uncluttered pre-MTV performance videos, which make the most of Harry's scrumptious mouth. It's docked half a star, however, for withholding a genuinely momentous remix: the "Heart of Glass" 12-inch, whose two extra disco-slanted minutes finally turned Blondie into a hit act in their native land.

Blender, Sept. 2008