Friday, May 28, 2010

Rip this joint, gonna save your soul (The Rolling Stones)

Every music magazine at present is running a commemorative story on the iconoclastic Rolling Stones (or more hipply - The Stones) album Exile On Main Street.

It is a great double album. Like The White Album, Electric Ladyland, and The River - it's a sprawling document from a time of creative overflowing. Unlike those three other examples, though, it is a lot more inconsistent. There are more clear peaks (Happy, All Down The Line) and troughs (Turd on the Run and Ventilator Blues) than on the Beatles, Hendrix and Springsteen efforts.

My Rolling Stones/Stones collection is, admittedly, quite patchy - I don't have all the early albums (a few collections suffice) but all the ones from Beggars Banquet onwards - through the decadent years into the long slow dissolve towards retirement. I even own a vinyl copy of Dirty Work fer goodness sake!

What with all those magazine covers and all I've been thinking of the Rolling Stones a bit lately. Last week I saw an interview on the BBC with Mick while I was in an electronics store in Doha. No sound - just an image of Mick looking more and more like a Spitting Image puppet. I also bought their last studio album A Bigger Bang on CD.

It's very similar to all of their post Steel Wheels stuff - about three really good tracks and the rest is Stones by numbers (often still better than a lot but compared to say U2 -it's dated/ not relevant/ old and in the way/ the worst type of 'dad' rock). A pity.

The self parody that has long been in evidence is now morphing into irrelevance. Time to call it a day guys - the gang has stuck in there way longer than predicted but John Lennon was right to figure, in his 1970 incarnation, that groups formed in the teenage years had a limited use-by date.

I can easily live without A Bigger Bang but not without Exile.

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