Blondie has always been one to experiment with a range of styles, most notably with the smash hit heart of glass in 78, which was Blondie's take on the disco craze that had began in the late 70's. Fast forward two years and we have the band's 5th studio album Autoamerican. Despite two number 1 singles with The Tide is High and Rapture the album barely made the top ten and spent few weeks in the charts. Why is this? One can only come to the conclusion that this is album is not up to the standard of the bands previous efforts. This is a popular opinion and I can see why because Autoamerican is heavily
experimental. Never have I listened to an album with as many different sounds and vibes as this.
We open with an instrumental orchestral piece entitled 'Europa'. You're not quite sure at first if this an actual Blondie record until you hear the iconic voice of debbie harry recite a short monologue about the advancements of technology in cars. This is not to say the track is bad or unfitting, its a great track, moody, mysterious; its a great opening. Then its 'Live It Up' a much more familiar sound, the mix of rock/disco that the band does so well. Next comes blondie's rendition of a 20's pop song in 'Here's Looking at You'. This song really shows Debbie's range, her silky smooth vocals that suprisingly work really well to form a really great song.
Much of the album goes on like this, mostly to great success albeit a few exceptions. 'The Tide is High' a cover of the Paragons reggae tune comes off as too long, and the debbie really sounds quite bored with it. On the other hand we have 'Rapture' which we can thank for helping bring rap into the limelight. This song does sound a bit dated by todays standards but Debbie delivers the rap with that sharp wit and carefree attitude that really sells it.
I don't know how they did it, but despite all these different sounds thrown together into one album it all flows really nicely. I think the reason for the dislike of this album is because of how different it is, its not the same blondie from the previous albums but really they should be praised for having the guts to experiment so freely.
Track list (stand-outs in bold - link through to song on youtube):
- "Live It Up"
- "Here's Looking at You"
- "The Tide is High"
- "Angels on the Balcony"
- "Go Through It"
- "Suzy & Jeffrey"
- "Do the Dark"
- "Walk Like Me"
- "Follow Me"