Monday, April 14, 2014

Slade - Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, the North American release of Slade's tenth studio album The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome (click here for that review). In the US, it spent twenty-three weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 23. In Canada, it spent thirty weeks on the chart, reaching number 26.

Side one starts with “Run Runaway”, the third single. It charted at number 21 in New Zealand, number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 19 in Germany, number 17 in

Australia, number 8 in Ireland, number 7 in Norway and the UK, and number 4 in Sweden. It opens with a thundering drum solo. Combining a Celtic jig with hard driving rock, this was easily my favorite track ever from the band. I love to crank it up as it always puts me in a great mood, reminding me of my early college days.

The hit ballad “My Oh My” is next. It was released as the second single, and it charted at number 65 in Australia, number 37 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 31 in Canada, number 25 in New Zealand, number 8 in the Netherlands, number 5 in Austria, number 3 in Germany and Ireland, number 2 in Switzerland and the UK, and number 1 in Norway and Sweden. It opens with a lovely piano by Lea and Holder’s heartfelt vocals; the rest of the band comes in on the second verse.

“High and Dry” was first performed by the all female rock band Girlschool on their 1983 album Play Dirty, which was produced by Holder and Lea. Part of the opening riff reminds me a little bit of the Kinks’ “Destroyer” from 1981.

“Slam the Hammer Down”, released as a US only promotional single, stalled at number 92 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. The lyrics use racing terminology as a sexual metaphor, while the music drives it all home with a pounding fury.

“In the Doghouse” talks about running around as a youth and getting into a mess of trouble. Andy Dummit provides the saxophone on this track, harkening it back a bit to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.

Side two stars with "Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply", the B-side to the second single. It tells the tale of an intoxicated driver who tells his girlfriend to not distract him while he is trying to avoid the police. The opening has a bit of a Twilight Zone vibe to it, while the chorus runs on high octane overdrive.

“Cheap ‘n’ Nasty Luv” displays the unglamorous side of prostitution.

"Can't Tame a Hurricane" was released as the B-side to the twelve inch version of the second single. In Europe, the title was changed to "Don't Tame a Hurricane". The hurricane is symbolic for someone with an out-of-control lifestyle that will ultimately end up in a complete wreck.

“(And Now the Waltz) C’est la Vie” was actually released as a single in November of 1982 where it peaked at number 50. Of course, this song about a relationship ending affair features a standard waltz sway to it.

The album ends with the epic “Ready to Explode”. Clocking in at eight and a half minutes, the track is a multi-part musical suite centered on motor racing. The parts consist of “the Warm Up”, “the Grid”, “the Race” and “the Dream”. Hill has stated that it was inspired on the work of Jim Steinman with Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell, an album Hill was very much into at the time. Lea takes the lead vocal on this one.

1 comment:

HERC said...

For several weeks in 1984, "Run Runaway" was my car stereo demonstration song. It sounded so good on my girlfriend's Alpine system in her Firebird.