Wednesday, March 31, 2004

#27) The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (released in 1969, I believe I got it for Christmas of 2002, but I'm not sure. There was a brief period where I went from having four Stones albums to - arguably - too many)

In a few years this one might drop below Exile in my list o' favorites, as the individual tracks on that album stand out more with each listen and some of these suffer from overfamiliarity (though I don't see myself getting tired of the apocalyptic energy of "Gimme Shelter" ever). But for now, this album strikes me as their first and finest work as near-decadents. The initial R&B dream was finally shattered by the incapacitation and removal of Brian Jones, leaving these bohemians adrift in a world of vice, gluttony and lust without much sense of purpose - though on this album they hadn't quite accepted it yet (let alone escaped it via professionalism).

While "You Can't Always Get What You Want"'s too messianic and "Midnight Rambler"'s a trifle too satanic (I'll take "Night Prowler" over it any day), my favorite tracks on the album glide through the muck with surprisingly giving glee. "Live With Me" combines hedonistic detail with possibly their finest musical rave-up to near-overloading effect while "Let It Bleed" anthromophizes into a Jagger grin that's equally benign and salacious. Often dismissed, "Monkey Man" is the album's arguable peak for me. Jagger utilizes some of his finest metaphors (and I thought that BEFORE I realized he calls himself a "cold Italian pizza") to describe the joy of a boar-gored blues-player finding someone else with an unmade bed while the band switches between a vicious strut and a breathtaking piano-and-slide bridge that gives Jagger's tale the same romantic power of Secretary - if you're willing to admit that you're a fleabit peanut monkey in the first place. For once, I even like his fade-out scatting. This is the last time these guys would sound like they had youth on their side.

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