was such a big jump in terms of Blondie's aristic development that it blows their debut album out of the water. As far as I'm concerned, just by itself the album would still cement Blondie's reputation as one of the finest rock'n'roll bands, even if Parallel Lines
had never existed.
Indeed, Blondie had matured a great deal compared to their debut album released just a year before. For while Blondie
was generally a well-written album, and a genuine blast to play, it was sorta juvenile, sorta sloppy, sorta insignificant. But Plastic Letters
in comparison is just ***AWESOME***, the most notable advances being in the production and arrangements.
Notable highlights are the fade out to "Fan Mail", the electric organ explosions of "Bermuda Triangle Blues", the intoxicated electric guitar duet in "Presence, Dear", along with dozens more instances that I would love to point out, for the diversity in this album is absolutely staggering, and contributes hugely to the enjoyment of listening to it ...
There's "Denis", a throwback to 50's love ballads; "Contact in Red Square" has a Russian connection; "I'm on E" is surf/rock; "No Imagination" has a classical vibe; and "Detroit 442" is nearly Heavy Metal! ... no two songs sound alike, not even slightly. And every style results in an entertaining song, so that - apart from maybe "Cautious Lip" at the end - there's not a dull moment anywhere on the album.
In spite of all that though, Plastic Letters
isn't a perfect album, for while the songwriting is universally fantastic, there is a sort of melodic barrier that Blondie needed to get through to make truly durable hits. For while the ideas are quirky and fun, the melodies aren't 100 percent. And that's the reason Plastic Letters
doesn't quite measure up to classics like Rubber Soul
Still, the album is definitely worth hearing - it's smart, fun, and worthy of many many listens.
[Footnote: Don Ignacio's Blog supplements this Review with a bonus track-by-track commentary]Rated:
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews