T. Rex, The Slider

Fuzz and haze rule the album and the sound, and that's a-okay with Marc Bolan, because he sliiiides. I mean, it's even on the cover, where the gauzy photograph (allegedly by Ringo Starr, though accounts differ) looked like Bolan stuck a cooking pot on his head until you glance at the back of the gatefold. There are no great lyrics here, because that's not what T. Rex does, and a lot of the music and the melodies are best described as trivial; similarly, the harder moments ("Chariot Choogle," "Buick Mackane" and, well, "Rock On") rock well enough but ultimately come off as slyly sexualized nonsense. Rather, it's those fuzzy, hazy moments that are the best parts of the album: the gentle backing of "Mystic Lady" and the famous title track ("I ain't never never kissed a car before") to start with, but also the languid, floaty "Spaceball Ricochet," the acid blues of "Rabbit Fighter" and the incomprehensibly compelling glam anthem "Ballrooms of Mars." "Metal Guru" is a great lead-off, though "Telegram Sam" gets all the airplay, and while it's good too it's still a recycled riff from "Get It On (Bang A Gong)" which is probably why. It's the slower, smoother moments that reward the listener, and the improved production values compared to Electric Warrior are at least as important. Glam isn't for everyone, but this album is for everyone who likes glam, because for all their faults this was the band that defined it and this is probably the best work they ever did. There are about a billion reissues of this by now: the early Marc on Wax version has the most unreleased new material, and is recommended to T. Rex fans, while the 40th anniversary version pays only lip service to a few and fills up the rest with the usual underwhelming studio outtakes and live performances. (Content: sexual references, adult themes.)