11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Blondie will never equal this diverse and amazing album!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Autoamerican (Audio CD)
On it’s release in 1980, ‘Autoamerican’ was bashed mercilessly by fans and critics (and still is now) for being so diverse. To this day, it still divides the opinions of thousands of Blondie fans. Some say it was a failed attempt to try something new and that Blondie should stick to the tried- and-tested formula that had worked wonders on the previous albums- upbeat, intensely hummable punk-pop songs. Others say it’s Blondie’s most ambitious and artistic work ever and applaud them for having the courage to make such an eclectic LP.
Right from the start, ‘Autoamerican’ sees the band embracing a different genre altogether. ‘Europa’ is Chris Stein’s very moody, darkly atmospheric classical composition. To top that, there are disco songs, reggae songs (in the form of massive No. 1 cover, The Tide Is High), a jazz song or two, country-style pop. Another single was ‘Rapture’. Blondie were always fantastically good at crossing styles and breaking boundaries- ‘Rapture’ is the perfect example of this, combining white disco-rock with black hip-hop for a completely pioneering hit (a note- Blondie are credited with having the first commercial hit song to feature rap, which is quite something!). Definitely one of the most creative songs of the 80s.
However, the Blondie of old is not completely lost. The beautiful ‘Angels On The Balcony’ is pure power-pop, reminiscent of any of the previous albums. ‘Walk Like Me’ is a very punky number about anti-conformity (‘We don’t wear that uniform…tell that girl you like her badge/tell that man that you’re the Nazz) and one of my favourites. ‘T-Birds’ is another classic example, with a soaring guitar break.
Some really great bonus tracks are available here, including the incredible Electro-rock anthem and transatlantic No. 1, ‘Call Me’ in it’s original long version. ‘Suzy And Jeffrey’ (B-side to ‘The Tide Is High’) is a tragic tale of romance and what happens when you crash your girlfriend’s Audi into the side of a recording studio (and it’s true). Finally, ‘Rapture’ pops up again in an extended disco mix. Great to dance to, but at nearly 10 minutes long, it really drags.
All in all, ‘Autoamerican’ is an amazing album and there are some fabulous ideas behind it. That said, when I first bought it, I hated it. It really does not have the instant appeal of the first 4 Blondie LPs. However, I can now honestly say that it’s probably one of my most-played Blondie albums and I love it. So, if you’re a fan, buy it now and please, please give it a chance. After a few listens I think you’ll find it’s really grown on you. If you’re just ‘getting into’ Blondie, though, look elsewhere.