It’s hard to believe it’s been 32 years since the Rolling Stones released what is arguably their last important album. Mick Jagger is living on and off in New York City. Keith Richards having gotten off a lot more lightly than he might have for a heroin rap in Canada is trying to get back to seriously making music. Ron Wood who had been in the band for a few years since Mick Taylor’s departure was starting to become a full fledged Rolling Stone.
Popular music was splintering off into many directions. Punk and Disco are taking off. International music is starting to make itself known and Reggae, Ska and Latin music are all gaining in popularity. And then the Stones pull out of all these influences “Some Girls”. The album sold great, went to number 1 here in the United States and made it respectable for established bands to dabble in dance band music.
The album opens with Miss You one of the great dance songs of the decade. The lyrics are all about a broken hearted lover missing his love while living in New York City. The song had numerous dance versions but the albums version is the tightest.
When the Whip Comes Down is up next. A driving straight ahead rock and roll song with thundering drums provided by Charlie Watts. The song has a punk feel and the song is told from the perspective of a gay man who comes to New York City to seek his fortune.
Imagination which is a reworking of the Temptations classic Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) follows When the Whip Comes Down. The version is okay but doesn’t approach the Temptations classic.
The albums title song “Some Girls” is next. The song which depending how you feel about the lyrics is either the Stones exposing and exploring stereotypes of different women passed on ethnicity or a semi racist screed that degrades women, especially black women. Jessie Jackson was particularly offended by t he lyrics and called for an apology from the band.
“Lies” follows. The song is an unexceptional rock number that moves at a fairly fast pace.
“Far Away Eyes” is a country influenced song. A bit of a throwback to the Let It Bleed album. The lyrics are satirical and Mick Jagger half talks his way through chunks of the song with what must have seen to him like a south western accent.
“Respectable” follows a woman and her climb into respectability/high society. The song also pokes a bit of fun at the band itself. The song has a hard driving beat and has a punk undertone.
“Before They Make Me Run” is a Keith Richards penned song which he also sings. The song deals with his drug addiction and has over the years become a concert staple for the band. A nice follow up hard rocking song to Respectable.
“Beast Of Burden” is a Stone’s classic. The song moves at a slow pace and the guitars weave in and out seamlessly. Just one of those gems that the Stone’s seem to effortlessly produce.
The album ends with “Shattered”. The song is another heavily influenced by New York City number. Another of the more New Waveish/Punk songs on the album. In it the protagonist is being ground up by New York City or shattered.
All in all Some Girls is a classic album and well worth owning in it’s entirety.
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