Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Big Takeover: Sweet: “Teenage Rampage”

Or, whatever happened to the Glam Slam?  It’s still here (the previous song was from the RAK factory, after all) but it seems to be slowing down somewhat.  This song isn’t so much about Glamour as it is about Politics.  And yet Politics is glamourous for some; almost all politicians, no matter their stripe, have something of a high when they win and take power, much, I suppose, like the honeymoon period of a marriage.  Sweet don’t concern themselves too much with that here – it’s the kids – teenagers! – who are going on a rampage and taking over with their rules, their choices, their own constitution.  (Yes, the kids are going to form committees and hash out their rule -  democratically!)  Say “teenage rampage” now and people think of a melee, a riot, looting, cats and dogs in the street, COMPLETE CHAOS.  And yet that is not really happening here.  The music is by-the-book glam; the delirium documented, however, is real.  The Baby Boom peaked in the late 50s/early 60s, which is in part why so many songs at this time had the word “teenage” in them (“Teenage Dream” by T. Rex and “Teenage Lament ‘74” being the main ones, though as a rule the Glam Slam was all about teenagers, more or less).  Of course there is the fact that this song  (stopped only by the biggest song of the year, Mud’s “Tiger Feet”) appeared just as the effects of the three-day week were really kicking in – more freedom for parents, more freedom for the kids?  Or more chances to seize power, to do whatever they want, to discard the present and think up a future.  Their time is coming, and in looking around who can blame them for wanting to take over? 

Just about everybody who would become major figures in punk and post-punk were teenagers at this time, and I can well imagine some of them are already getting into music that is more adventurous than this; and they were to make music that held to no constitution or united scene whatsoever.  The Sweet had another Chinn-Chapman hit on their hands here, but in the end it sounds more like what would speak to, oh, Tony Blair more than John Lydon (though the Glam Slam got a free pass from the punks – how could something so shiny and unpretentious be bad)?

Next up:  Face to face with…who?