Posts Tagged ‘The Rolling Stones’

#108 – Aftermath (The Rolling Stones)

In 124-100, Top 150 on April 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm

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?

Track Listing

Side One

  1. Paint It Black
  2. Stupid Girl
  3. Lady Jane
  4. Under My Thumb
  5. Doncha Bother Me
  6. Think

Side Two

  1. Flight 505
  2. High And Dry
  3. It’s Not Easy
  4. I Am Waiting
  5. Going Home

#114 – Out of Our Heads (The Rolling Stones)

In 124-100, Top 150 on January 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

U.S. album art for the 1965-release of "Out of Our Heads" by The Rolling Stones

I know nothing about The Rolling Stones. Seriously, nothing. I had this idea in my head that when I listened to my first full album by one of the most iconic bands in history, I would have this incredible musical experience, like some wave of musical realization and ecstasy would hit me and take me to music-dreamy-land.

It didn’t.

There are a few tracks on Out of Our heads that popped for me, but overall, I wasn’t blown away. I feel like I’m committing a sin by saying that, but its true. Now, this was The Rolling Stones’ fourth U.S. album, released on July 30, 1965, and it included 5 cover songs and 7 original tracks. My guess is that the Stones continued to evolve over their subsequent years together. For me, tracks like “Mercy, Mercy” and “The Last Time” have that incredible, classic, analog-rock sound that has a special sweet-spot that can’t quite be replicated with the same rawness. And of course, tunes like “Satisfaction” are classic, right? Everyone knows that famous song. In fact, this album made it to the top of the charts in the U.S. because of songs like “The Last Time” and “Satisfaction”. After the U.K. release of the album, which was in September 1965, Out of Our Heads made it to the number 2 spot in the charts, right behind The Beatles’ Help!.

So again, although the album doesn’t really stand out to me as being incredible, I have to look at the context and approach it a different way. The Rolling Stones, from my understanding, were almost like a counter-band to The Beatles. The Stones were a bit more bad-ass. And their music seems that have a little more rawness to it as well, which is partly due to Jagger’s characteristic voice. And like I already said briefly, there is something unique about the analog sound of 60s and 70s rock albums – the sweet hum, slight imperfections, and of course, rebellious atmosphere of musical exploration. Its brilliant.


#136 – Tim (The Replacements)

In 150-125, Top 150 on May 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

Tim (The Replacements, October 1985)

This album was released two years before I was released, yet somehow makes me feel like I’m in high school rebelling against my parents and having a blast while doing it. The beginning of this album draws me in though, and I’m not sure why. I picture myself hitting the road (somewhere in Arizona or Nevada, clearly). And driving fast. In a comfortable. And possibly myself, or someone else standing up screaming at the top of my lungs. There’s definitely this sense of doing whatever you want, right at the start of the album with the opening track, “Hold My Life”, letting lyrics like “If I want, I could dye…my hair” establish to mood. But there also seems to be this fine line between losing control, and getting control (“Hold my life/because I just might lose it”).

Track Listing

  1. Hold My Life
  2. I’ll Buy
  3. Kiss Me On The Bus
  4. Dose Of Thunder
  5. Waitress In The Sky
  6. Swinging Party
  7. Bastards Of Young
  8. Lay It Down Clown
  9. Left Of The Dial
  10. Little Mascara
  11. Here Comes A Regular
Track 2, “I’ll Buy” jumps in with a more punk/alternative-rock element to it, but again its got this theme of free-spiritedness and being being able to do anything you want – travelling, buying nice things. It also has this really classic sound to it, and the chorus makes you want to sing along.
There’s a familiarity to this album that I’m not sure if I can place. I guess it reminds me of a mix between R.E.M.’s alternative guitar with some of Elton John’s percussion and that kind of classic rock sound. It’s fun though. This album just continues to encourage screaming at the top of your lungs in wide-open spaces. In other words, its fun, its a bit rebellious, its playful and its classic. Tracks like “Bastards Of Young” and “Dose of Thunder” remind me of bands like The Rolling Stones and Starship, respectively (“We built this city on rock and roll…”)…and that’s cool!
Then there’s “Waitress In The Sky” which has the Summer feeling of The Beach Boys, combined with a guitar-drum lead-in that makes me think that Meatloaf might start singing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”…but doesn’t.
“Left Of The Dial” is a clear throwback to small-town bands playing small-town concerts. I also read that it pays homage to the fact that college radio stations typically are on the left side of the radio dial, and so this is actually considered to be somewhat of an anthem to college radio stations. Again, cool!
I hadn’t heard of The Replacements before a week ago. Had you? I wasn’t really looking forward to hearing this album, but I was pleasantly surprised. The album bursts with rebellious, youthful accounts of various experiences like convincing a young lady to let you steal a kiss from her, and the attraction and flirtatiousness of airline flight attendants, but it also has an element of determination and strength that pierces through the rest of the fun and party-life themes.
Check this album out. If you don’t know The Replacements, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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