Plastic Letters [Bonus Tracks]

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
In artistic terms, Plastic Letters, Blondie's second album, was a classic example of the sophomore slump. If their debut, Blondie, was a precise update of the early-'60s girl group sound, delivered with an ironic '70s sensibility, its follow-up seemed to consist of leftovers, the songwriting never emerging from obscurity and pedestrian musical tracks. The production again courtesy of Richard Gottehrer was once again bright and sharp, but in the service of inferior material it alone couldn't save the collection. The two exceptions to the general mediocrity were "Denis," a revival of Randy & the Rainbows' 1963 hit "Denise," for which Deborah Harry sang a verse in ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
In artistic terms, Plastic Letters, Blondie's second album, was a classic example of the sophomore slump. If their debut, Blondie, was a precise update of the early-'60s girl group sound, delivered with an ironic '70s sensibility, its follow-up seemed to consist of leftovers, the songwriting never emerging from obscurity and pedestrian musical tracks. The production again courtesy of Richard Gottehrer was once again bright and sharp, but in the service of inferior material it alone couldn't save the collection. The two exceptions to the general mediocrity were "Denis," a revival of Randy & the Rainbows' 1963 hit "Denise," for which Deborah Harry sang a verse in French to justify the name and gender change, and "I'm Always Touched by Your Presence, Dear," written by Gary Valentine, who had left Blondie shortly before the recording of the album. Due to these two songs, the album became a commercial success, at least overseas. British-based Chrysalis Records had bought out Private Stock, giving Blondie greater distribution and more of an international marketing focus. The result was that "Denis" broke them in Europe, nearly topping the U.K. charts and followed into the Top Ten by "I'm Always Touched by Your Presence, Dear," with the album also peaking in the Top Ten. In the U.S., Blondie finally charted, making the Top 100. The songwriting problem did not seem to bode well, but they would take a distinctly different approach next time out. The 2001 reissue added four bonus tracks including an early version of the breakthrough hit "Heart of Glass," here called "Once I Had a Love [AKA The Disco Song]"; "Scenery," another catchy song written by Valentine; "Poets Problem," the non-LP B-side of the single "[I'm Always Touched by Your] Presence, Dear"; and a previously unreleased live version of the rocker "Detroit 442."
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/11/2001
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 724353359829
  • Catalog Number: 33598
  • Sales rank: 13,414

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Blondie Primary Artist
Debbie Harry Vocals, Group Member
Jimmy Destri Strings, Background Vocals, farfisa organ, Polymoog, Piano (Grand), Roland Synthesizer, Group Member
Clem Burke Drums, Background Vocals
Frank Infante Bass, Guitar, Background Vocals
Dale Powers Background Vocals
Chris Stein Bass, Guitar, Vibes, E-bow, Group Member
Technical Credits
Debbie Harry Composer
Jimmy Destri Composer
Alan Betrock Producer
Greg Calbi Mastering
Richard Gottehrer Producer, Liner Notes, Reissue Liner Notes
Chris Stein Composer
Robert Fisher Reissue Design
Bob Gruen Reissue Photography
Kevin Flaherty Producer, Reissue Producer, Reissue Compiler
Darren Wong Art Direction
Bryan Kelley Producer, Reissue Producer
Rob Freeman Engineer
Jonathan Postal Reissue Photography
Ramey Communications Art Direction
Kevin Bartley Mastering
Ronnie Toast Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Plastic Letters: One of the Most Under-rated albums of all time

    Blondie's second album Plastic Letters features song titles seemingly ripped from tabloid headlines, such as "Youth Napped As Sniper", "Love at the Pier", "Bermuda Triangle Blues", "Fan Mail", and others. The songs are dark, short tributes to obsessed fans, child snipers, pop psychics, and other nowhere people, and the album is truly the most difficult and inaccessible record the band ever made. Indeed, its only real "hits", in Europe at least, were a cover of the Randy and the Rainbows single "Denise", (changed to the mail gender by turning "Denise" into the French name "Denis"), and "I'm Always Touched by Your Presence Dear," a very lyrically clever ode to false mediums and psychics everywhere. Despite the lack of easily accessible pop hits when compared to the groups other albums, when the album has time to work its spell, it remains a forgotten classic. Usually cited as having "sophomore slump" or "second-rate" songs by most critics, it is important to remember that most of the time this album is judged in comparison to the bubbly punkish jubilance of the first album, or its successor, Parallel Lines. Taken on its own, however, Plastic Letters has songs which feature intelligent, often biting lyrics, and music which becomes more and more hypnotizing upon repeated listenings. Be warned: the quality of this album may not be apparent upon first listen, but with repeated listenings it becomes a dark, addictive experience, and may in fact be one of Blondie's best albums when taken out of the context of their other, more pop-oriented works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Mail from a Reviewer

    Good punk album. There are angry songs. It is strange that some songs are slow although I've though that punk is usually fast. Well, good classic "Denis" and "I'm Always Touched by You Presence, Dear" anyway. Unfortunately, there are some tracks like "Kidnapper" which are too simple.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Blondie First Mega Hit

    Blondie's second album ''Plastic Letters'' was a edgy and harder album than their self titled debute the year before. Blondie's re-worked hit ''Denis'' was a Mega Smash all throughout Europe. It's as catchy as any of their own material. Deborah Harry's Bi-Lingual vocals were pure magic, and the pay off was #2 hit in the UK. Plastic Letters cracked the top 80 albums chart in the USA in 1978, although the album was a little more aggresive then their debute, it really showcased the band's rocking side. The stand out cuts on Plastic Letters are ''Denis, Detroit 442 and Presence Dear''. Presence Dear was also a European top ten hit in 1978. With the re-release of Plastic Letters, you get some very rare Blondie material. The standout track is Poet's Problem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fine, but not as magical as debut

    Though the band found and wrote some good material for their sophomore effort, it couldn¿t help but be a disappointment after the burst of energy captured on their debut. Their coherence as a rock band is greatly improved (backed by Clem Burke¿s drumming, this is some of the most powerful powerpop ever recorded), but the inventive thrill of their debut couldn¿t help but find itself blunted as a second helping. <br><br> Harry¿s vocals are more assured this time out, powering her way through pop ballads like ''(I¿m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear,'' mixing English and pidgin French on a remake of the Randy & The Rainbows doo-wop hit ''Denis,'' and bouncing off the walls of ''I¿m on E.'' <br><br> Bonus tracks include an early version of ''Heart of Glass'' titled ''Once I Had a Love,'' an outtake from the first album (''Scenery''), a B-side (''Poets Problem''), and a live track (''Detroit 442''). The outtake, a fine Gary Valentine song, has more of a Byrds/Flamin¿ Groovies feel than the girl-group sound that predominated the debut. The B-side fits in with the album, and the live track (recorded a year after this LP) gives a sense of where the band took these tracks in a live show. <br><br> This is an essential part of the Blondie canon, and had it not followed such a stellar debut, it might stand a bit taller.

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