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Angelheaded Hipster ★★★★



Director: Ethan Silverman

Release: 22nd September 2023

Marc Bolan was one of Glam Rock’s pioneers in the early 1970s with a string of hits including Get It On, Metal Guru and 20th Century Boy. While he died at age 29 in 1977, his legacy is reflected through the release of the album Angelheaded Hipster, which features the likes of U2, Elton John, Father John Misty & Nick Cave reinterpreting the songs of T Rex. A companion film of sorts to the album with the same name has now been released, charting Bolan’s life and legacy with new interviews with many of the performers on the album and friends and family of Bolan.

It is a fascinating look at one of the 70s pioneer innovators, showing what made him stand out, from his prowess as a musician to his flamboyance on stage. We also look at his friendships with his contemporaries, especially with David Bowie, who started at the same point and whose career took off alongside Bolan’s offering a rivalry of sorts. Archive footage of Bowie shows how much the two meant to each other and how much they inspired and fed off each other’s creativity.

Interspersing the archive footage and interviews with new recordings of Bolan’s material shows his importance for several artists who’ve come across several generations, and having the likes of Edge, Elton John, and Nena contribute offers the wide range of T Rex’s appeal.

The slight drawback is perhaps the by-the-numbers nature of the film, which may be expected, but when Bolan himself discusses his life and career, it is hard to take your eyes off the screen. He had a way with words, and for a life cut so tragically short, there are more than a few tales to be told.

Angelheaded Hipster might not be as groundbreaking as something like Moonage Daydream. Still, it fulfils its purpose of showing Marc Bolan and T Rex’s continued appeal to artists and audiences in 2023, over four decades after his death. Some fascinating stories and anecdotes will surely surprise some, and glimpses at a life he may have gone on to live, with a budding interest in film and directing. Ultimately, it is a reminder of the power of his music, which has most certainly stood the test of time and still resonates with many.

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