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Monday, May 03, 2010

THE ROLLING STONES: EXILE ON MAIN STREET


I think it's pretty fitting that the Rolling Stones 1972 album, "Exile on Main Street" has been re-released now.
We're wallowing in the pop cultural after-effects of the American Idol hype machine, with reality TV rendering the bulk of the populace into fake celebrities. We're realizing that our major food sources are flavored with high fructose corn syrup and it's making us fat and stupid. People pretend to fight for justice but they can't even spell the words correctly on their protest signs.

So damn it, we need this filthy, muddy, messy album to remind us of what honesty sounds like.

This album is authentic and unwieldy. There's no autotune. This is real music with intelligent lyrics. When they recorded it, The Rolling Stones had already gone through their shiny pop star era and were now rich, druggy, debauched and had probably been exposed to every STD known to man. This album reflects that state of malaise. It's a sonic lens flare; gorgeous, hazy and self-indulgent. I bet the recording studio smelled like B.O., pot and just a touch of expensive cologne.

If you've never heard "Exile on Main Street" before, don't you dare just download one song. This is an album, not a collection of singles. Listen to the whole thing. Don't watch TV or get on the computer. Crank it up, turn out the lights and listen. Hear that? That's the sound of rock n' roll louche life.

2 comments:

DF said...

The appreciation for the art of sequencing an album is dead. One of the greatest things about the time before digital media was that when you bought a record, you listened to it song by song.

And, because of that, you heard it the way the artists wanted you to hear it. You heard the songs in the order they intended to tell the story. Sometimes (often), there was a dud in the mix, but that was part of the experience.

You sat through the pothole to get to the next smooth part of the ride. But that was all part of what made the experience great.

vjdutton said...

It's true, DF! And sometimes an underappreciated B-Side song felt like it belonged only to you, because it wasn't played on the radio, nobody talked about it but you just happened to like it.