12. Blondie – Atomic

Oh ho make it magnificent. Tonight right. Oh your hair is beautiful. Oh tonight. Atomic.

Atomic looks great. The video starts in inverted monochrome with some dude showing up on a horse. The price to get in to see Blondie is ‘25 units’. There are mushroom clouds. The audience is in capes and hats with one girl in aluminium foil and slinkys. It tells us the song is cool, post-apocalyptic, punk.

Then you see Debbie Harry and she looks amazing. She has torn tights and messy bleached hair. She ignores us all in her big sunglasses, then she takes them off so we can get the panoramic view of her cheekbones. She’s wearing arm warmers. (They protect you from nuclear fallout.)

Then it hits you – Debbie Harry is wearing a garbage bag.


She doesn’t dance, she moves like a spastic robot. She says “Atomic” in her Arnold Schwarzenegger “If it bleeds, we can kill it” voice. I want to be invited. It is so punk.

It is so punk that you don’t notice that the music is so disco: The octaving bass line; The bubbly synth sound; The hot technical drum beat; The meaningless lyrics. Punk kills disco, and in its rage it becomes disco. Isn’t that what happened when Anakin executed Dooku and became Vader?



Hanging on the Telephone, The Tide is High, Call Me, Heart of Glass were all huge songs. Debbie Harry rapped on Rapture. Blondie owned the planet back then and Debbie Harry was the hottest singer in all of creation.


blondie greatest hits

Next: 11. Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence

Previous: 13. The Clash – London Calling


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