Saturday, October 8, 2011

269. Some Girls. Jagger's answer to his punk critics

Album: Some Girls
Artist: The Rolling Stones
Year: 1978
Genre: Rock


1. Miss You
2. When The Whip Comes Down
3. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
4. Some Girls
5. Lies
6. Far Away Eyes
7. Respectable
8. Before They Make Me Run
9. Beast Of Burden
10. Shattered

Since the end of the eighties, every album The Stones have released has been hailed as The Best Since Some Girls. Their 1978 effort is held up as their last great record and the album that every subsequent one will get compared to. It's kind of sobering to think that Some Girls was released a mere 15 years since their debut. In other words: this came out a third of the way into their career so far and the last two thirds have their career hasn't been as good.

When Some Girls hit the shops, The Stones were trying to emerge from a bit of a career slump. After their unbelievable four album run (Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street) they had a three album dip in quality with Goats Head Soup, It's only Rock and Roll and Black and Blue, all of which had their highlights but had their share of flat spots as well. The glory days of rock and roll seemed to have passed and the twin towers of punk and disco had risen in it's place. Bands like the Stones were seen as out-of-touch dinosaurs who had no relevance for the modern music fan.

If this one thing Mick Jagger hates it's being looked on as passe. For years he led the most dangerous rock band on earth so to be cast aside as meaningless definitely stung. He wanted to do something to restore the image of the Stones as rock's most important bad boys but was hampered by  Keith Richards who was fighting a Canadian drug bust that could have seen him doing an lengthy jail term. So with a reputation to uphold, a dispirited drug-addicted partner and a new second guitarist who had only just joined the band, Jagger had to put out ten songs that would reclaim his much loved reputation.

Some Girls is definitely a triumph. Two sides of vinyl which sound uniquely like the Stones but don't resemble their future attempts to reclaim past glories. Ten songs, some of which were definite classics (Beast of Burden, Respectable, Miss You) and even the minor songs were still a great listen. It rocks, it swings and it even works being light-hearted (The Girl with the Faraway Eyes) and desperate (Before They Make Me Run is Keith pouring his heroin-filled heart out into the microphone).

No matter what you think of the Stones you could never be more tough on them than  Jagger who is his own harshest critic. The true test of what Rock's Greatest Ever Frontman thinks of his past work is to see if the songs make it into modern Stones setlists. Unlike many of their albums since, who have only had one or two songs given live outings, every track off Some Girls has been played live, with many songs making welcome appearances in setlists thirty years after they were recorded.

Some Girls was Mick's challenge to the Punk and Disco artists who thought he was irrelevant in the seventies. Today it holds up much better than many of his critics who time has justifiably forgotten.

Influenced by: Disco and Punk and a desire to reclaim a throne.
Influenced: Sadly not enough people at the time.

Highlight: Miss You
Lowlight: Some Girls (and not just for the dodgy lyrics)


-one of those albums is not like the others.

So is this a respectable release or a beast of burden you'd rather do without? Let me know below.

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