The Rewind Button is a group blogging project instigated by Rachel Tynan. As part of her New Years’ Resolutions for 2012, she set out to listen to Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of all time. I thought it would be fun if a group of bloggers listened to the same albums at the same time, then posted their reactions. Starting today, we’re going through the Top 40 and will be continuing with a new album every Thursday. Want to join in? We’d love to have you. Email me if you have a blog, or just offer up your two cents in my comments area below.
This week: Exile on Main St. (1972)
Last week, fellow blogger Rachel Doerksen wrote something funny about Marvin Gaye’s album.
I was ready for a full set of “whoa Rachel, why has it taken you this long to listen to this album?” Instead I got “whoa Rachel did you really just skip a song titled save the children?”
That’s how I feel about many of the albums on the list…that I’m waiting to be blown away by “the album that got away.” I imagine it would feel that way to see Ghostbusters for the first time in 2012. “Zuul, Keymaster, GOZER – where have you been all my life!?”
Alas…Exile on Main St shall stay in exile, at least for me.
The blues is not my co-pilot. I’ve never liked it, and I can’t imagine I ever will. I find it monotonous, masculine and masturbatory. The only Exile on Main St song I enjoyed to any degree was Sweet Virginia, because it sounded like you were eavesdropping on a casual house party and the singalong felt authentic. The oppressive heat rippling in through the open kitchen door was almost palpable. And that’s pretty awesome, considering they recorded it in France.
As for the rest of the album – I can’t even be bothered to carefully dissect it like some kind of jeans-with-blazer-wearing rock n’ roll academic because it’s just that aurally annoying.
The mix. THE MIX. It’s positively obnoxious, with horns and piano and a basic roadhouse drum beat regularly drowning out Mick Jagger’s vocals. I feel like I could stride into any given bar with blinking neon signs, motorbikes parked outside and an overripe blonde slut grooving alone on the dance floor and the band inside would be indistinguishable from this mess. And yet this is the 7th greatest album of all time, according to Rolling Stone?
Now, in case you’re wondering how the rankings came to be, here’s Rolling Stone’s description of the process:
An eclectic and stellar panel of experts — including the Rolling Stone editors, Fats Domino, Flea and Britney Spears — voted on the following albums, by everyone from Abba to ZZ Top, from Robert Johnson to the White Stripes, in 2003.
I suppose, as someone who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, I’m a bit miffed that every album we’ve heard so far was released in the ’60s and ’70s. For the record (or the CD, as it were) there are newer offerings in the top 500 – artists like No Doubt, Madonna and Pearl Jam. I know we should respect our elders, but it begs the question: is older automatically better?
Or do you think those ragged antiques Richards and Jagger just got extra points because their band bears the same name as the magazine, hmmm?
Listen along! Next week we’ll be chatting about: London Calling, The Clash
Who else rewound Exile on Main St.?