Blondie: Autoamerican US CD 
- Live It Up
- Here’s Looking At You
- The Tide Is High
- Angels On The Balcony
- Go Through It
- Do The Dark
- Walk Like Me
- Follow Me
I know, I know. It’s been only a few posts back where we fell down the “Eat To The Beat” rabbit hole, but here I am, the very next week, posting on a Blondie song that I just can’t get out of my head today. That’s the price we pay for the haphazard fashion in which I craft this blog! In many ways it makes perfect sense that after listening to “Union City Blue,” what must have been dozens of times last week, that I would eventually get a yen to hear its close cousin in sound.
After I played it the first time this morning I thought to myself, that this simply must have been a Nigel Harrison song, since the song’s traits are so closely related to the wondrous “Union City Blue” and my instincts were spot on. The biggest difference in this song was how the song lacked the expansive buildup on the back of Clem Burke’s drums. This one bolted from the gate at full speed with [I’m guessing] Frank Infante’s nimble guitar giving with the utterly glorious riffs that all of the cascading drums and percussion are playing a secondary role to this time out. The riffing was clearly influenced by Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone From The Sun” but its placement in a buoyant, ecstatic pop song couldn’t be more different.
And the song does indeed soar, not only due to the powerful guitar, but also thanks to the legendary backing vocals of Flo + Eddie, who blend with Ms. Harry to winning effect. This was the one song on “Autoamerican” that just sounded “big” and next to all of the eclectic tributaries away from the Rock River on that album, it ended up being my clear favorite on an album which has always been something of an acquired taste for me.
Lyrically, the song surprises since with Blondie’s retro kitsch rep, one would think that it was about the car, or maybe a street gang, but it’s actually about the Native American totem from whence everything else cribs the name. The middle eight has a spoken word recitation by Ms. Harry that 36 years of listening has not fully divined.
The constant, tribal percussion throughout the song was another nod to the religious significance of the titular bird, but did you notice how the roller-rink organ of Jimmy Destri played against this beat throughout the song, giving a touch of ska to this number? In fact, it was somewhat redolent of the rhythmic keyboard sound of the previous year’s “Flex” by Lene Lovich albeit cross-bred with the closest this album came to Phil Spector territory. I find it hard to believe that this track was never released as a single anywhere in the world, but closer examination of Blondie’s output in 1980 reveals that all three of the singles they released that year went to number one in America [and all over the world, for that matter].
- Call Me
- The Tide is High
Yow! Is that world-straddling success, or what?! Of course, from this acme, things could only go downhill for Blondie. But that’s another story for next time.
– 30 –