Blondie - Eat To The Beat
Laurence Ettridge 05/08/2007
1979, punk was dead. The demise of the Sex Pistols and The Clash's progression into a flurry of influences which would form the London Calling album, clearly indicated a degree of calm in the UK music scene. This boring period was only emphasised further by the presence of depressing post-punk groups such as Joy Division. In the same year, amidst the state of confusion in the UK waiting for the next big movement, from across the Atlantic there came the perfect pop album, charting at number 1 in the UK, in the form of Blondie's Eat to the Beat.
Blondie had recently made the underground to over ground leap with the success of their third album, Parallel Lines, which also peaked at number 1 in the UK. However, Eat to the Beat was revolutionary in its own individual way. It was the first album to ever have a corresponding video album release on VHS, each song having an individual video, which is the focus of the reissue of the album, making the video album available in DVD format for the first time.
The videos are…simple to be kind. The DVD confirms Blondie's valuable contribution to the music video revolution of the late 70s and early 80s, but overall, I would say that the DVD is a pleasant extra if anything. The album, however, would definitely be a fantastic addition to any collection.Eat to the Beat is a great pop album, punctuated by aggressive punk bursts of the title track and Victor. The album in many ways has a mix of everything that a pop album should have: soft and beautiful moments such as Sound-A-Sleep, sandwiched cleverly between dance floor favourite, Atomic, and Debbie Harry's screams on Victor. It is also strong lyrically, for instance, guitarist Chris Stein shines in his song writing capabilities on the storytelling track Shayla. As well as these components, it also vitally includes outstanding songs, delightfully catchy enough to grab you forcefully, have you forget yourself and sing them under your breath without realising.
The reissue of this album, is also a deserved reminder of Debbie Harry's influence as a front woman. The confidence with which she carries herself on stage in the DVD is a wonderful characteristic, that can be recognised in many front women since her rise to fame with Blondie. I only wish I could have seen them perform on their low key tour of the UK last month, as I am sure Debbie's talents as a singer and a front woman are still a spectacle in the reformed band.
Eat to the Beat is not an all time great album, but is certainly worthy of a reissue and retrospective look at its original release here in the UK, in a window after punk and before the dismal descent into the “hair rock” dominated 80s.