Sunday, February 08, 2004

#78) Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street (released in 1972, I got a copy on CD for Christmas 2002)

I'm guessing this album might be a couple dozen notches higher if I do something like this again in five years (this is already my favorite Stones album to play when I've been drinking). It's rare that I ever get to hear this thing all the way through (it always got interrupted every time I tried to this week), so putting this somewhere closer to where you'd find it in a rock mag's list would be a canonical leap of faith I'm not willing to take (what value would such an act hold here anyhow?). One of the reasons its not higher on my list is one of the reasons its on it - every time I hear this some new element, some previously unparsed lyric or musical part, rises up from the murk and stuns me. Earlier albums may have strucker me harder immediately, but there's a near-magical richness to this music that rewards repeated listening. I'm not remotely done with it.

Exile is easily dismissable as a mere "rock'n'roll" on first listen, especially when the universal praise reaches you before the music itself. Like I tell my friends in regards to Bob Dylan, don't expect some sort of consistent divinity and obvious wisdom - accept it at face value and then watch it slowly reveal its transcendence. I've had this for over a year and I'm still finding new facets (especially lyrically) in the first track alone! An album that feels like the work of a great band's muddled subconscious shouldn't be expected to resonate immediately anyhow.

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