The Rolling Stones- Exile on Main Street
Written on December 26, 2012
After releasing three consecutive cornerstone records of classic rock (Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, and Sticky Fingers) and also inventing sleaze rock in the process, The Rolling Stones then recorded their 4th straight masterwork– Exile on Main Street.
Exile On Main Street maintains much of the sound and style that the Stones perfected on their preceding three albums, but it strips the music down to its bones. Plus, the previous three albums contained certain tracks that were centerpieces of their respective albums. Conversely, there aren’t any signature centerpiece songs on Exile on Main Street, but the album doesn’t suffer as a result. Instead, there is an assault of stripped down songs that are simple, raw, and rough. In fact, many of the songs sound like they were written on the spot, and I absolutely love the mood this creates.
All 18 songs are winners, but there are some standouts. “Torn and Frayed” is my personal favorite and one of my top Stones songs from any album. I love the lyrics and Jagger’s vocal delivery on the song. Here’s a segment from “Torn and Frayed”:
On stage the band has got problems/ They’re a bag of nerves on first nights/ He ain’t tied down to no home town/ Yeah, and he thought he was reckless/ You think he’s bad, he thinks you’re mad/ Yeah, and the guitar player gets restless (Click here to listen to Torn and Frayed).
Of the other songs, take your pick. In addition to “Torn and Frayed,” there’s “Rocks Off,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Sweet Virginia,” and “Loving Cup.” Then on the second half of the record, there’s “Happy,” “All Down the Line,” “Shine a Light,” and “Soul Survivor.” The whole album sounds like the Stones were all just hanging out, having a great time, and writing some of the best music ever laid down to tape.
All in all, Exile On Main Street is amazing. The record was originally recorded as a double album; therefore, it sometimes gets accused of being loaded with filler, but I disagree. The record’s 18 songs all have something to offer, and they are a testament to how proficient and prolific The Rolling Stones were in 1972.
There’s a picture in the album’s inner sleeve of Jagger and Taylor signing into one microphone, each with a liquor drink and cigarette in hand. It looks like they were having blast, and you can hear it on every song on the album. Simply put, the whole album looks, feels, and sounds like true (real) rock and roll.
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