I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

T. Rex Electric Warrior (1971: Reprise)

1. "Mambo Sun" - 3:40
2. "Cosmic Dancer" - 4:30
3. "Jeepster" - 4:12
4. "Monolith" - 3:49
5. "Lean Woman Blues" - 3:02
6. "Get It On" - 4:27
7. "Planet Queen" - 3:13
8. "Girl" - 2:32
9. "The Motivator" - 4:00
10. "Life's A Gas" - 2:24
11. "Rip Off" - 3:40

I remember reading in Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs (a friend suggested it to me because Klosterman apparently writes the way I write) a distinction he made about bands. Some, he wrote, are good bands, bands distinguished by their musicianship and songwriting (the Beatles, for example), while others are cool bands, bands distinguished by look and style (MGMT, for example). While T. Rex certainly seems to fall under to cool category of bands, their album Electric Warrior is one of the best (read: "the good-est") albums I've ever listened to.

Electric Warrior is about love and dancing. It's about alternate lifestyles, most specifically the glam movement championed by T. Rex's Mark Bolan (who, I've found out, is not related to Amy Bolan), David Bowie, Lou Reed, and friends. My father always said of these people that he loved their music but never approved of their lifestyles (he would include Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones under this umbrella). I find this position inauthentic, even unobtainable; T. Rex's music is inseparable from T. Rex's lifestyle - sex, intoxication, guitars and drums; these things are both the life and the music. I may not live my life like Mark Bolan, but to judge his lifestyle as bankrupt is to judge his music as bankrupt, and his music is anything but.

I once attempted to experience T. Rex's Electric Warrior as a real rock star might. While staying in a hotel in Roswell, New Mexico, I laid on the bed, pantsless, wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses int he dark, and allowed myself to occupy the space of such songs as "Planet Queen" and "Life's a Gas." I've been told it was quite a scene to stumble upon, but I've also been told that I recruited a new T. Rex lover that day, another electric warrior, if you will. And I look back on this memory and know it was cool, and there was morning and evening that day.

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