Blondie

Eat to the Beat

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Just as Blondie's second album, Plastic Letters, was a pale imitation of their self-titled debut, Eat to the Beat, their fourth album, was a secondhand version of their breakthrough third album, Parallel Lines: one step forward, half a step back. There was an attempt, on such songs as "The Hardest Part" and "Atomic," to recreate the rock/disco fusion of the group's one major U.S. hit, "Heart of Glass," without similar success, and, elsewhere, the band just tried to cover too many stylistic bases. "Die Young Stay Pretty," for example, dipped into an island sound complete with modified reggae beat (a foreshadowing of the upcoming hit "The Tide Is High"), and "Sound-a-Sleep" was a lullaby that dragged too much to be a good change of pace. The British, who had long since been converted, made Eat to the Beat another chart-topper, with three major hits, including a number one ranking for "Atomic" and almost the same success for "Dreaming," but in the U.S., which still saw Blondie as a slightly comic one-hit wonder, the album was greeted for what it was -- slick corporate rock without the tangy flavor that had made Parallel Lines such ear candy.

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