Blondie - Parallel Lines
Album Comparisons: Parallel Lines
I'm a big fan of Blondie, and my first real introduction to them came by way of this album. Sure, I'd heard the biggest singles - "Heart of Glass," "The Tide Is High," "Rapture," and "Call Me" - on the radio, but this one was the album that really turned me on to the band in a big way. I remember playing it through for the first time while sitting in the parking lot at Bill's Records and being instantly hooked. It's one of the most popular and best selling new wave albums of all time, and so naturally it has been a candidate for remastering and various re-releases. So how do the different releases compare?

Hanging On the Telephone

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Hanging on the Telephone

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Hanging on the Telephone

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Hanging on the Telephone

One Way or Another

1985 Chrysalis CD release

One Way or Another

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

One Way or Another

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

One Way or Another

Picture This

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Picture This

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Picture This

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Picture This

Fade Away and Radiate

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Fade Away and Radiate

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Fade Away and Radiate

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Fade Away and Radiate

Pretty Baby

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Pretty Baby

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Pretty Baby

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Pretty Baby

I Know But I Don't Know

1985 Chrysalis CD release

I Know But I Don't Know

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

I Know But I Don't Know

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

I Know But I Don't Know

11:59

1985 Chrysalis CD release

11:59

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

11:59

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

11:59

Will Anything Happen?

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Will Anything Happen?

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Will Anything Happen?

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Will Anything Happen?

Sunday Girl

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Sunday Girl

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Sunday Girl

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Sunday Girl

Heart of Glass (original album version)*

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Heart of Glass (original album version)

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Heart of Glass (original album version) * Original pressings of the Parallel Lines LP included the 3:48 edit of "Heart of Glass," which was replaced on later pressings by the longer and more well known 5:50 "disco" edit. The longer edit is the one used on the 2001 remaster disc, while the 1985 CD release uses the shorter version. The DCC audiophile disc includes both.

Heart of Glass (disco version)

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Heart of Glass (disco version)

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Heart of Glass (disco version)

I'm Gonna Love You Too

1985 Chrysalis CD release

I'm Gonna Love You Too

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

I'm Gonna Love You Too

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

I'm Gonna Love You Too

Just Go Away

1985 Chrysalis CD release

Just Go Away

1994 Digital Compact Classics Gold CD

Just Go Away

2001 Capitol/Chrysalis remaster

Just Go Away
And the winner is: 1994 Digital Compact Classics release. The 1985 Chrysalis release is much too quiet and sounds like it's at least a couple of generations removed from the master tapes. I'm also not a fan of the short version of "Heart of Glass," even though it is the original album cut. The DCC disc does include this version, but also features the longer and more well known "disco" cut as a bonus track, which is a welcome edition. The 2001 remaster has, as expected, been subjected to the Loudness War treatment common to nearly all remastered CDs released since the late 90s, with very obvious limiting employed which is at its worst on tracks such as "One Way or Another" and "Will Anything Happen?" The remaster also sounds noticeably brighter than the DCC version. Whether this is the result of some kind of enhancement of the high end frequencies during the remastering process is unclear, but it doesn't sound right to me. The DCC gold CD both looks and sounds like gold, and it is the one to go with.