Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Come on feel the noise"'s Slade

This week I decided to try something different with the layout of this blog, including the addition of the appropriately glam "bottles of your mother's makeup" rating system (patent pending).

Slade never hit it big in North America but they had their share of #1 singles in the UK. In fact, in the early years of glam, Slade was out-charting glitter superstars like David Bowie and Marc Bolan. The band is responsible for 17 top 20 songs in the UK and are cited as influences to post-glam groups like “Kiss” and “The Ramones”.

Rocker Profile: Slade is a band from the West Midlands, England. At the peak of their popularity, the band consisted of: Noddy Holder on vocals and rhythm guitar, Dave Hill on lead guitar, Jim Lea on Bass and Don Powell on drums. The band was pieced together from the leftovers of several unsuccessful English groups. From 1971 to 1975, the band released several successful albums, the two most acclaimed being “Slayed?” in ’72 and “Slade in Flame” in ’75. The band also released a popular Christmas tune entitled “Merry Christmas Everybody” which resurfaces every holiday season in Europe.

Glamtastic Review: Today we’ll have a look at Slade’s third studio album, “Slayed?”. The album charted well mostly in the UK and Australia. It is notably darker than other early 70s glam efforts. The album’s gritty sound, with its anthem choruses and seemingly sporadic guitar noodling, serves as an obvious precursor to later rock acts like “Twisted Sister” and “AC/DC”. In fact, Noddy Holder’s coarse voice sounds incredibly similar to the vocals of the late AC/DC front man, Bon Scott.

What I Like About the Album:

-Songs like “Look at Last Night” and “The Whole World’s Goin' Crazee” are lyrically playful, powerful tunes, that speak on rock and roll stardom in both a grounded and surreal fashion.

-Bassist Jim Lea manages to stick out from the rest of the musicians, his wickedly hopping, vocal-mimicking bassline in “More Over” is fun.

-“Let the Good Times Roll” is a strong and catchy track with a great guitar breakdown in the interlude as well as at the end of the track.

What I Don’t Like About the Album:

-Many of the songs feel too similar. Slade sticks to a certain formula for every track on this album: a couple of lines for the verse, than a yelled anthem chorus. This formula is repeated and an interlude or solo is tossed in here or there. Slade does perform these types songs well but there needs to be some variation.

-Most of the songs aren’t very fulfilling lyrically. Cliché or cheesy lines pepper many of the record’s verses. Here’s an example from “We’re all goin’ Crazee” that made me shake my head a little: “We all get our kicks, playing in a rock and roll band, There’s nothing like the feeling when you give it all you got, and people want to shake you by the hand,”

-Like the actual song structure, the song themes themselves do not vary enough from track to track. With the exception of only a couple of songs on “Slayed?” most of the album is about either kicking a girlfriend to the curb or partying and finding a new one.

Verdict: I enjoyed “Slayed?” overall but it felt like rich glam rock filler, catchy but with very little creative substance.

3.5 bottles of your mother's makeup out of 5

"Mama Weer All Crazee Now" from the album "Slayed?"

band image from
album image from

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