G.O.A.T.: Atomic by Blondie (1979)

THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a series of posts, producing my 100 favorite songs of all time.  The master list is here, and I update it about every two weeks or when I have another 10 songs or so.

I’m a huge fan of just two Blondie albums: Eat to the Beat and Parallel Lines. The rest of their catalog, I can take it or leave it. But those two records are fantastic.

Eat to the Beat is probably the best example of the bridge between mid-1970s punk, late 1970s disco, and early 1980s New Wave. And Atomic, the third single from that album, is one of the best songs showing the crossover of those genres. It’s got the sense of swirl you get from the best disco records (including Blondie’s own classic, Heart of Glass), it’s got lyrics that are mostly about appearances and style (“tonight, your hair is beautiful”), and the video is a nihilstic trip to a punk club.

Further listening: The entire album is full of great, genre-breaking singles, and there’s a lot of Blondie tunes that could qualify as some of the best pop singles of all time: Die Young, Stay Pretty; Dreaming; Eat to the Beat; Heart of Glass; In the Flesh; Rip Her to Shreds; Picture This; Rapture; Hangin’ on the Telephone; Union City Blues; One Way or Another…The list goes on and on.

In my ongoing list of my 100 favorite songs, this is 17th entry.  And I’m ranking it at #12.  Here’s where it comes in, in context:

10.  Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Richard Hawley (2007) (link)
11.  Misfits by the Kinks (1978) (link); and: Covers of the top 30 Kinks songs here and here
12. Atomic by Blondie (1979)
13.  Alison by Elvis Costello (1977) (link)
14.  Grindin’ by Clipse (2002) (link)

Yep.  It pushed down Elvis Costello and Clipse.

Covers: Surprisingly few. Here’s a remix and a couple versions I thought were pretty decent—including a string quartet!

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