“I know I’m small, but I enjoy living anyway” sings Marc Bolan, looking very small indeed. Some former flower children shed their hippie frippery crossing over into the 1970’s, but you couldn’t take the flower child out of Bolan. He carried over his habit of performing sitting cross-legged; probably the least optimal posture for playing to a stadium of squealing teenyboppers, but very cute. He also never lost his sense of cosmic wonderment. In nonsensical but heartfelt verse, he sang about being a small fragment in the universe, sometimes sad but still full of love. Or something. It was a vulnerable but ballsy performance, and that could be the epitaph for his entire life.
When I was in high school I spent a lot of time alone in my room listening to T. Rex records. I didn’t have very many friends, but I did have a lot of art projects. Marc Bolan was some of the best company a weird and socially maladjusted kid could have, with his soothing baby-lamb voice and personalized cosmology populated equally by talking woodland critters and sexy mamas in glitter. Bolan was quite the teen idol, in his brief heyday, but he long ago became an obscure curio. Other teen idols have cycled in and out since his time, a new one every 2.5 years or so, because teens and their burning passions have very short shelf-lives. I, meanwhile, am 35 years old now, and I still spend a lot of time alone in my apartment listening to T. Rex records. I don’t have very many friends, but a lot of unfinished art projects. There are many more things in my life than when I was 15, obviously; I have a career, I do socialize and go out sometimes, men vie for my attention, there’s a lot of new music to listen to, etc… But amidst all that, oftentimes I just want to stay home and listen to T. Rex records. Marc Bolan has been a lifelong friend, and his cosmology is part of my cosmology now. Some things in the world don’t ever change.
“Rock on!” is the simplest directive for life. Just keep on keeping on, living your rock star life, being your most rocking self, doing what you do. Totally meaningless yet totally inspiring. That’s kind of also the T.Rex credo. T.Rex isn’t music with a message, except for one of hedonism and fun aka ‘rocking’. T. Rex rocked in the firm belief that rocking is what gets you through; rock to live, live to rock. That’s a simple philosophy, it’s easy to follow, and right down to it, it’s all you really need.
Unfortunately, I think this might be a sexual reference rather than the setup for a Redwall-style fantasy universe. But it’s Marc Bolan, so it may well be both. We know he loved his talking animals. And his sexual references. Not that it matters. The Slider remains a must-have among must-haves. You have to give yourself over to it and concede that Bolan can “rabbit fight all over you” any day. And there must be something deeply wrong with you if you can’t.
The Slider is so chock-full of hits. It’s one of those records where every song deserves to be a huge hit. The bar is so high that songs which would be the highlight of any other record get relegated to second-tier. I think this song is fantastic, but it’s definitely overshadowed by the bigger, louder, more hard-rocking numbers. Marc Bolan really amped up the energy for this record, keeping up a winning streak. However, I do like Bolan in pensive mode, and this song helps keep the balance. Honestly, all I can say is that it’s just a perfect record, a rare deal.