As the name would seem to suggest, “Smash It Up” is composed of two very different songs. The first part is a slow and thoughtful ballad, written in tribute to Marc Bolan. A fingerpicked guitar lightly darts over a warm bass part, with only a smattering of drums.
After about 1 and a half minutes, the song picks up considerably. The drums make more of a showing, certainly.
But after the 2nd minute of the song, the 2nd part takes over. Suddenly, it’s a punk song, with a simple guitar chord progression, pacey drums, an organ vamp, and some particularly incendiary lyrics which got the song banned by BBC Radio 1 for their riotous content. Times were different…
After a short pause, the latter third of the song gives over a section to an ecstatic electric guitar solo.
Lyrically, the song is an attack on hippies, specifically their long hair and frothy lager. In fairness, both of those things were probably abundant back then!
“Smash It Up” is a single from Machine Gun Etiquette, which came out in 1979.