Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Slade

  • Slade Alive! [Polydor, 1972] B+
  • Slayed? [Polydor, 1973] A-
  • Sladest [Reprise, 1973] B+
  • Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet [Reprise, 1974] B
  • Get Yer Boots On: The Best of Slade [Shout! Factory, 2004]

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Slade Alive! [Polydor, 1972]
More or less the nonstop raver you'd expect, only friendlier, offering a much clearer sense of a performer relating to an audience than most concert LPs. Since I've never laid eyes on loud-man Noddy Holder, maybe it's just that I'm untrammeled by preconceptions, or maybe Holder's such a simpleton he's a cinch to suss, or maybe Holder's a genius. But most likely it's a little of all three. Surprise: the (sweet) pop of "Darling Be Home Soon" works better than the (automatic) overdrive of "Born to Be Wild." Second surprise: just before the final verse, someone approaches the microphone and delivers a very articulate belch. B+

Slayed? [Polydor, 1973]
These guys aren't singles specialists like Gary Glitter or (I insist) T. Rex--they deliver a whole album of boot-boy anthems that are every bit as overpowering as has been reported, and also more fun (reporters panic real easy). Noddy Holder can wake up the crazee in my neighborhood any time he wants. But that doesn't mean I'm predicting Slademania--not in a nation where Loggins & Messina are encouraged to sing about rock and roll. A-

Sladest [Reprise, 1973]
This includes "Gudbuy t' Jane" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," the best cuts on Slayed? because it compiles the English hits of these Anglopop phenoms. I take it the reason "Gudbuy" and "Crazee" are the best cuts on Sladest as well is that these Anglopop phenoms turned into raving maniacs only recently. Clearly, it's what they were meant to be, and although Slayed? is less tuneful, I prefer it. You don't ask an air raid siren to play "Stardust," or even "Glad All Over." B+

Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet [Reprise, 1974]
If this band were an established monolith in America the way it is in England, the love ballad and the music-hall sendup might sound nimble, but as it is they sound lame. Worse, only one of the clap-stompers--the defiant "Do You Still Do It"--raises the roof. B

Get Yer Boots On: The Best of Slade [Shout! Factory, 2004]
Cruder than T. Rex and harder than the Sweet, the proto-oi Slade performed the same function--more loudly, it is my sad duty to report, on the original Slayed? than on this collection of U.K. hits, the first nine of which replicate the first nine on 1973's Sladest. After that there are, I swear, several ballads, and also their only U.S. hit, "Run Runaway," released to capitalize on Quiet Riot's breakthrough cover of Slade's signature "Cum On Feel the Noize." Oy. [Recyclable]

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