The British version of Aftermath was release in 1966 by Decca records, followed by the U.S. version. I listened to the U.S. version of the album, since that is what is listed on the Rolling Stone list of Top 500 Albums of All Time.
It was a bit of a strange experience for me listening to this album, because I listened to it with all the general knowledge of the Stones being a great rock band. So I approached it from a different, and I must admit, biased mindset. It was interesting for me though because at first, I didn’t love it. My first thoughts, admittedly, were a bit of disappointment. These songs seemed so simple to me, but not in an exciting and powerful way. I had more of a feeling of “That’s it?”, and thinking the songs sounded more amateur than I expected (I feel like I’m saying musical blasphemy here…).
The more I played the album start to finish, and really listened to it (as opposed to putting it on in the background), the more I began to like it. Even as I’m writing this, its playing and I’m realizing how some of the songs I am starting to love more and more. Right now, “Under My Thumb” is playing, and I just love the marimba riff in the background that has this mellowed out tonal quality that also lightly softens the sound of the song.
From my understanding, this album was notable at the time of release because of the musical diversity and experimentation. The marimbas on “Under My Thumb” are a great example, however you can still hear the rock-blues base that the Rolling Stones built on. It was also the first album completely written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, which is pretty huge.
As a side note, I’m listening to this album right now wishing I had a vinyl copy and a record player here, because I feel like this album would be seriously phenomenal on vinyl.
The by the fourth or fifth song on this album, I began to recognize that the songs have this loose pattern of one catchy lines that’s followed by the songs main riff (as in “Doncha Bother Me”). I guess that kind of corresponds with the bluesy inspirations.
I also felt like I recognized tracks on this album, even though I can confidently say that I’ve never played it before (at least, not knowingly). I instantly recognized “Paint It Black” and the opening riff to the song, and the album, which immediately, I thought “Oh yeah, I know this…” The first side of the album was more familiar to me, although songs like “High And Dry” and “I Am Waiting” sounded familiar too. Actually, I really love the ho-hum, drifting, calm, repetitiveness of “I Am Waiting”, and how it really brings up those feelings of calm anticipation you experience when you wait for…anything!
I’m happy to finally have listened to this album – my
first second full Rolling Stones album. So now, tell me…what memories do you have of this album? What does it remind you of?
- Paint It Black
- Stupid Girl
- Lady Jane
- Under My Thumb
- Doncha Bother Me
- Flight 505
- High And Dry
- It’s Not Easy
- I Am Waiting
- Going Home