Still my favorite Blondie album. An underrated classic.
Kelvin Kettle | mapleville,RI USA | 04/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have never heard Blondie's Plastic Letters before then you are in for a treat. This is still and always will be my favorite Blondie album. I can still remember listening to it for the first time in 1977 and I loved it. I used to play it over and over again. Hearing it today is just as fresh as it was then. This album is their pre polished sound that was the real Blondie. It is a true example of their pop punk style. I saw them in concert in 1978 when they did Parallel Lines with the hit disco song Heart of Glass and Debbie Harry announced that they were not a disco band but a punk band. I guess that song made them popular but to me the real rawness of Blondie is in the songs on Plastic Letters. Every song is a classic. Give it a listen for the first time or rediscover it if you have'nt heard it in awhile. This is without a doubt one of my top ten albums of all time."
Mike B. | 12/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's what Debbie Harry exuded, in concert and video. It's also the title of my favorite Blondie hit (U.K. only). The band took longer to catch on in the states.
Following up their great debut "Blondie" (1976) couldn't have been easy. It was produced by Richard Gottehrer, and they used him again the next year on "Plastic Letters". Smart move. Gottehrer was an industry veteran who had written the number one hit "My Boyfriend's Back" for The Angels in 1963. He was perfect for capturing Blondie's New York-centric punky Shangri-Las sound. There's not a bad song here. Indeed, the group had a knack for teaming up with the right producer at the right time.
Their breakthrough album "Parallel Lines" (1979) was produced by Mike Chapman. The Chapman/Chinn juggernaut first scored with Suzi Quatro 6 years earlier, then Sweet and numerous others. Donna Summer's producer Giorgio Moroder helmed Blondie's biggest hit "Call Me" in 1980. Of course, none of this would mean anything without great songs - but guitarist Chris Stein, keyboardist Jimmy Destri and Harry all wrote well. Along with drummer Clem Burke, "Plastic Letters" was recorded as a foursome. For "Parallel Lines" they added new members Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison. Harrison had previously been in the L.A. glam band Silverhead, which was fronted by the great singer Michael Des Barres. This line-up continued till the group disbanded in '82.
The first 4 albums are the best. The 4th one, "Eat To The Beat", was another big-seller. "Autoamerican" spawned 2 number one singles and sold well, but was a disjointed affair that didn't cohere like earlier efforts. "The Hunter" was fairly bad, and marked the end of the hit-making years. Reunited since the late 90's, the band records only sporadically, and have only the U.K. hit "Maria" to show for it. There's too many missing original members, and it's just not the same.
But in their prime, Blondie was one of the most fun bands around - and the first 4 albums are enduring classics. Of these, "Plastic Letters" is probably the most overlooked. Too bad. It's a real gem."