God, I love Blondie. Maybe this is based on the fact that lead singer Debbie Harry is the epitome of glamour with her iconic platinum tresses, framing those fab cheekbones and wildly expressive eyes… She’s my ultimate girl crush. However, she’s not just a pretty face! She also lent her voice to some of the most amazing tunes ever recorded.
It’s time for me to take you back to 1980. Blondie’s new album, Autoamerican, is due to hit the soundwaves this November… and it’s going to utterly transform the face of the music industry FOREVER!
The entire tracklist is a dream come true. Imagine you’ve just stuck the vinyl on the deck, lifted the needle and dropped it carefully at the beginning. For a few seconds, there’s nothing but that wonderful white noise, with the odd crackle and distortion. Go with it…
First the symphonic opening of Europa… For starters, it’s an instrumental. Have Blondie ever DONE an instrumental before, you might be asking yourself. No. They haven’t. And then, when you think things can’t get any stranger (because, remember, it’s the 80s… people like Gaga just don’t exist yet!) we hear Debbie’s voice. “From Agincourt to Waterloo, Poitiers and then Anjou, The Roses War, the Hundred Years, Through battlefields of blood and tears…” It’s not a song, it’s a speech. Completely unexpected, completely unlike any Blondie track we’ve ever heard before and, weirdly, a stroke of complete genius.
So what if contemporary critics hated it? This album has stood the test of time, offering us a buffet selection of Blondie styles from across their musical reign. We’ve got the cheesy disco song in Live It Up, which showcases every cliché of the boogie-nights era possible.
Still listening? I bet you are. You’re about to be rewarded with the incredible sound of Here’s Looking At You, which sounds as if it’s been lifted straight from a luxury 1940s lounge bar. Debbie sounds sultry, whimsical, soft and affectionate. She speaks, she sings, she seduces us with grace and ease. And it leads perfectly into the next track, the eponymous Tide Is High itself! Sure, it’s a cover, but the band make it their own with a fun reggae beat and Debbie’s signature husky vocals.
Fancy a bitta white girl rapping? You’ve come to the right place… the essential Rapture is wildly camp, wonderfully breathless and completely baffling. “Well now you see what you wanna be, just have your party on TV, ’cause the man from Mars won’t eat up bars when the TV’s on… and now he’s gone back up to space!” And nope, I will never have any idea what Debbie’s talking about. I’m pretty sure it’s a metaphor for something… maybe it’s different for everyone? Either way, I love it. And the fact that the single version of the song tops the charts in the US (the first single involving rap to ever do so), when it is released the following year, means quite a lot of people agree with me. The song which references hip hop pioneers fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash also hits the number five spot in the UK.
Of course, I could go through and list every single track that makes Autoamerican as startlingly absorbing as it is from Angels On The Balcony, Go Through It, which sounds as if it’s been blasted straight from the 1960s, and T-Bird, but there is no way to experience it better than the real thing, so why not check out a copy of this brilliant album yourself… I swear you won’t regret it!
By Kayleigh Dray