260 of 1001 Albums: The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street

Exile On Main Street is one of The Rolling Stones classics. Perhaps, this has to do with the variety on the album. Either you’re going to find the songs appealing, or not so much considering how much you have to take in while listening. Mick Jagger takes one song to the next with a varying degree of his recognizable vocals. For some the undefined overall sound of the album might leave them confused about how they feel after a listen. Everything from the bluesy sound that is fused in to the country bar vibe gives it an unique flare.

The album starts well with “Rocks Off”. You couldn’t have honestly picked a better song to begin with. A flare of everything the album contains seems to be wrapped into this song. The first few songs continue to roll on well, but it’s obvious this isn’t quite where The Rolling Stones tried to take their previous album, “Sticky Fingers”, which had a stronger vibe of the 1950s. With “Torn and Frayed’ we have a song that veers the album back into a more country sound. Depending on how much you like the diversity it will either cause you to appreciate the band, or want the song you were listening to back.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of the brass. For me it adds a new heightened sense to music that otherwise I don’t think the sound would have had. I don’t know how this album would have been had it been missing this essential element I found. Jagger’s vocals are also always a huge part of what makes The Rolling Stones so good. I found the more somber songs that started playing during the end to be some of my favorites like “Let it Loose”.  The guitar, Jagger’s voice, and the brass section seemed to all make it a piece worth listening to the album regardless of your opinion of the other songs.

The Rolling Stones may have more memorable songs, and cohesive albums, but this one has a reason that it stands alone. There aren’t many other albums that can possibly say they tried a bit of everything, and present it the way they did. The sounds were a risk. Either people will enjoy the variety of music offered to them, or they will want more similar tunes to listen to.

Rating 3 of 5.

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