Aug 30, 2017

The Last Great Rolling Stones Album

Tattoo You is the last great Rolling Stones album. I say this not out of nostalgia, for that year kinda sucked for me personally. However, 1981 was filled with many interminable classics, both good and bad: Journey's Escape ("Don't Stop Believin'", "Open Arms", etc.), REO Speed wagon's Hi Infidelity ("Take It On The Run", "Keep On Lovin' You"), and Foreigner 4 ("Urgent", "Waiting For A Girl Like You", "Jukebox Hero"), among others.

This is great album, rocking uniquely and exploring interesting slow textures as well. It may sound silly, but the Stones rock subtly.

Side one opens with "Start Me Up", which needs no introduction. Like the other hits above, it was overplayed to death, and is their last mega-hit. (They had more hits, but none this big again.) Then a quick drum fill from Charlie, and "Hang Fire" continues the rocking. "Slave" rests on a funky bass line that so embedded itself into my head that I used it in my own song, "Flick The Switch" (from World Famous In Chapel Hill). Keith sings lead on "Little T&A", as he celebrates his lady's physical features with salty language. "Black Limousine" and "Neighbors" wrap up side one with more uptempo attitude.


Side two is the mellow side, with lots of interesting textures. "Worried About You" and
"Tops" show that even Mick and Keith have compassion, those softies. "Heaven" is my favorite from side two. It's kind of a swirly haunting track, rather trippy.


They return to their usual rock n roll personas with "No Use In Crying" -- stay away from me. The album closes with their other big hit, "Waiting On A Friend". Not only was the message of the song a positive message of simple happiness in the moment, but video also made an impression on me. This was, once again, a crappy year for me, being in eighth grade. This was just the point where this fourteen year old had concluded that appearing mean and tough was the secret to success. Or at least prevented defeat.  To see members of the Rolling Stones, well understood and bad-ass and cool, greet each other and their friends with hugs on a New York City stoop was a revelation, breaking my mind out of the oppressive macho world in which I found myself. If it weren't for Tattoo You, I'd still be trying to impress ladies by gritting my teeth and scowling.

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