Autoamerican by Blondie

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Autoamerican by Blondie
Autoamerican by Blondie

Album Released: 1980

Autoamerican ::: Artwork

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1.Europa3:32
2.Live It Up4:10
3.Here's Looking At You2:58
4.The Tide Is High4:42
5.Angels On The Balcony3:36
6.Go Through It2:40
7.Do The Dark3:53
8.Rapture6:33
9.Faces3:51
10.T-Birds3:58
11.Walk Like Me3:46
12.Follow Me3:00

Reviews

Blondie tackle a lot of styles for their most eclectic album, which unfortunately is as hit and miss as you'd expect.

The two hits were "Rapture" (another disco song with a parodic rap about eating cars), and a cover of the Caribbean standard "The Tide Is High". Both are highlights of this highly inconsistent album, which finds the band stretching its eclecticism well past the snapping point - did you hear that snap? That would be the very first track on the album - "Europa" - which sounds like what you'd expect from a song with that title; or would it be the 1920's style sendup limp rockabilly of "T-Birds"?

The band tackle a lot of styles here, but the plain fact is that Blondie, like most bands, have stylistic limitations - which is to say that there are certain genres of music Blondie just aren't very good at. It's a shame that "Angel On The Balcony" - easily the best song here, and one of the most haunting songs the band has done - gets lost amidst this sea of derivative tomfoolery.

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise


Recorded in Los Angeles, the production on Autoamerican is the aural equivalent of soft focus, the sound supplemented by plenty of session players putting a gloss on things.

Certainly, eclecticism is still paramount - the album's two big hits were vastly different - a reggae cover of "The Tide is High", which is a bit too similar to Eat to the Beat's "Die Young Stay Pretty", and the groundbreaking but nowadays dated rock/rap hybrid "Rapture". But Blondie the band is in short supply on Autoamerican, even if the lyrics have bite.

The album opens with Stein's "Europa" and "Live It Up" - practically an overture with orchestral backing and a minimal guitar line that phases into a spoken-word piece. And "Angels on the Balcony" and "Do the Dark" - both power/pop songs by Destri - are two of the stronger tracks, but lack edge, while a third - "Walk Like Me" - doesn't even come close.

On the whole, the album's rock numbers belong more to the teased hair world of Los Angeles than the New York scene, and often sound like Michael Jackson backing tracks. That's because Harry's voice was Blondie's only true distinguishing feature, and - whilst she gets to sound kittenish on faux 40's cocktail numbers "Here's Looking at You" and "Faces" - the backing is derived from session players more than from the band.

Far worse is the album's ending - a cover of Camelot's "Follow Me" is just Harry's ethereal voice over a session man's synths. So the band's contribution is inconspicuous, instead session men ranging from Flo & Eddie to Tom Scott appear in their place.

As a big-time pop album, Autoamerican may've had mass appeal, but somewhere along the way the band's rough New York edge was sanded away - insincerity and sincerity become indistinguishable.

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by Reviewer: Obscurity (blogging at Obscurity!)


Remember how Blondie used to be a happy-go-lucky band that threw caution to the wind at every turn? I do! Those were good times, but now it seems they've been replaced by pod people, as Autoamerican is nothing like the band used to be.

The opening track “Europa” is a cinematic instrumental. AN INSTRUMENTAL!! It sounds like the introduction to some 'film noir' movie. Sure, it’s not bad - I’d even go so far as saying it's well composed - but why the heck did the band think that would be a good idea?

Luckily, the second track is a bit more like it, as it’s likable disco with a catchy melody, and Blondie had by now been doing disco numbers for quite a few albums. Then along comes the third track "Here's Looking at You", which is er ... 1930's jazz/pop. What’s scary about that is Blondie are pretty good at it - Harry seems cut out for the style, and there’s really no doubt she would've been a superstar in that era too.

The album's fourth track "The Tide Is High" is a reggae number, and a good one at that. It's a cover, so Harry altered the original lyrics to suit a female singer. Although the melody is good to begin with, like most reggae songs it can get repetitive, but the scrumptious tropical rhythm and a beautiful horn section turn it into a mostly pleasant listening experience.

By this point it becomes noticeable that there's no underlying structure to Autoamerican, it's just a collection of random songs presented willy-nilly. So in addition to the stuff I've already mentioned, there’s an excellent funk/pop track called “Rapture” that contains a bit of rapping in the middle. And then there’s the uber-dramatic “Go Through It”, which sounds like it could be from a Broadway play about the Wild West.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)