“I Could Have Burned Your Fate In The Sand”

I didn’t hear the T-Rex version of “Life’s A Gas” for years; I knew it from an Alex Chilton cover that — maybe it was on a bootleg, or on a live recording off the radio or something? I remember that I didn’t come by it honestly, if that makes sense, and I remember to this day how lazy and scuzzy it sounded. I think Teenage Fanclub were being Chilton’s backing band, and the whole thing sounded near-shambolic, which just made it so much more compelling to listen to, over and over and over again.

I remember going to record stores and toying with the “Electric Warrior” CD over and over again, as well, wondering if it was worth the money just for that one track. (This was before my interest in Bolan set in, and back when I was poor enough that buying a CD was a commitment that I didn’t make easily.) It never seemed fully worth it, and so it was years later when I finally heard the original version of the song, with Bolan’s ethereal vocals feeling the very opposite of Chilton’s, with the pristine guitar feeling light and airy compared to the version I knew.

The original version of the song, to this day, feels almost like a ghost, or perhaps like a skeleton or structure that exists as much in its absence than what is actually present. I feel, when I listen to it, as if I am following that guitar line through a physical space, through the bones of the song. It feels spacious.

This despite the lyrics of the song, which are almost comically lackadaisical, bordering on depressed: “I could have placed our love in the sky, but it really doesn’t matter at all, no, it really doesn’t matter at all…” It’s a proto-slacker song, perhaps, made decades too early. Something that, almost fittingly, I never got around to actually properly listening to until it was easy enough for me to do so without expending any significant effort. Maybe Marc would have approved.

366 Songs 085/086: Supernatural Giver/Children of the Revolution

A surreally strong musical memory was hearing a Radio 1 DJ go from “Supernatural Giver” by proto-Britpop band Kinky Machine (If nothing else, their single covers were Menswear’s aesthetic about three years early, right down to an identical font) to T-Rex’s “Children of the Revolution” as if they were one song, just letting “Giver” end and the chug-chug of “Children” start as if it was some weird, awesome coda to the last song. I can remember really clearly sitting at the desk in my bedroom, trying to study for some upcoming exam and being… distracted wasn’t the word; I couldn’t concentrate on work at that moment because there was something about the obvious connection between the new song and the old song, the way they sounded related, the way that the T-Rex song didn’t sound like anything I’d heard before (Maybe I’d heard “Get It On” before this, but I’m not sure, to be honest) and I thought “I need to listen to more glam rock. This is what pop music should sound like.”

It wasn’t the power of one song or the other. It was the power of the moment where the two crossed over, if that makes sense.