T Rex – The Slider (1972)

AllMusic Review: Buoyed by two U.K. number one singles in “Telegram Sam” and “Metal Guru,” The Slider became T. Rex’s most popular record on both sides of the Atlantic, despite the fact that it produced no hits in the U.S. The Slider essentially replicates all the virtues of Electric Warrior, crammed with effortless hooks and trashy fun. All of Bolan’s signatures are here — mystical folk-tinged ballads, overt sexual come-ons crooned over sleazy, bopping boogies, loopy nonsense poetry, and a mastery of the three-minute pop song form. The main difference is that the trippy mix of Electric Warrior is replaced by a fuller, more immediate-sounding production. Bolan’s guitar has a harder bite, the backing choruses are more up-front, and the arrangements are thicker-sounding, even introducing a string section on some cuts (both ballads and rockers). Even with the beefier production, T. Rex still doesn’t sound nearly as heavy as many of the bands it influenced (and even a few of its glam contemporaries), but that’s partly intentional — Bolan’s love of a good groove takes precedence over fast tempos or high-volume crunch. Lyrically, Bolan’s flair for the sublimely ridiculous is fully intact, but he has way too much style for The Slider to sound truly stupid, especially given the playful, knowing wink in his delivery. It’s nearly impossible not to get caught up in the irresistible rush of melodies and cheery good times. Even if it treads largely the same ground as Electric Warrior, The Slider is flawlessly executed, and every bit the classic that its predecessor is. — Steve Huey

Track Listing

Side A
No. Title Length
1. “Metal Guru” 2:25
2. “Mystic Lady” 3:09
3. “Rock On” 3:26
4. “The Slider” 3:22
5. “Baby Boomerang” 2:17
6. “Spaceball Ricochet” 3:37
7. “Buick Mackane” 3:31
Total length: 21:57
Side B
No. Title Length
1. “Telegram Sam” 3:42
2. “Rabbit Fighter” 3:55
3. “Baby Strange” 3:03
4. “Ballrooms of Mars” 4:09
5. “Chariot Choogle” 2:45
6. “Main Man” 4:14
Total length: 21:08

 

Schill Score: 9/10

 

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T Rex – Electric Warrior (1971)

AllMusic Review: The album that essentially kick-started the U.K. glam rock craze, Electric Warrior completes T. Rex’s transformation from hippie folk-rockers into flamboyant avatars of trashy rock & roll. There are a few vestiges of those early days remaining in the acoustic-driven ballads, but Electric Warrior spends most of its time in a swinging, hip-shaking groove powered by Marc Bolan’s warm electric guitar. The music recalls not just the catchy simplicity of early rock & roll, but also the implicit sexuality — except that here, Bolan gleefully hauls it to the surface, singing out loud what was once only communicated through the shimmying beat. He takes obvious delight in turning teenage bubblegum rock into campy sleaze, not to mention filling it with pseudo-psychedelic hippie poetry. In fact, Bolan sounds just as obsessed with the heavens as he does with sex, whether he’s singing about spiritual mysticism or begging a flying saucer to take him away. It’s all done with the same theatrical flair, but Tony Visconti’s spacious, echoing production makes it surprisingly convincing. Still, the real reason Electric Warrior stands the test of time so well — despite its intended disposability — is that it revels so freely in its own absurdity and willful lack of substance. Not taking himself at all seriously, Bolan is free to pursue whatever silly wordplay, cosmic fantasies, or non sequitur imagery he feels like; his abandonment of any pretense to art becomes, ironically, a statement in itself. Bolan’s lack of pomposity, back-to-basics songwriting, and elaborate theatrics went on to influence everything from hard rock to punk to new wave. But in the end, it’s that sense of playfulness, combined with a raft of irresistible hooks, that keeps Electric Warrior such an infectious, invigorating listen today. — Steve Huey

Track Listing:

Side A
No. Title Length
1. “Mambo Sun” 3:40
2. “Cosmic Dancer” 4:30
3. “Jeepster” 4:12
4. “Monolith” 3:49
5. “Lean Woman Blues” 3:02
Total length: 18:33
Side B
No. Title Length
1. “Get It On” 4:27
2. “Planet Queen” 3:13
3. “Girl” 2:32
4. “The Motivator” 4:00
5. “Life’s a Gas” 2:24
6. “Rip Off” 3:40
Total length: 19:36

 

 

Schill Score:  9.5/10

 

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