Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beggars Banquet (1968)

"Street Fighting Man" In which the curtain goes up on the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band 1968-1972 (though I suspect the Stooges challenged them in their latter supremacy, but that's a discussion for another time). Having spent several years persistently and purposefully dogging the shadows of the Beatles—up to and including a "retirement" from touring, if you can believe that now, though for vastly different and even slightly sordid reasons (but we wouldn't have it any other way, would we?)—and having effectively sidelined their one non-traditionalist, founding status or no, the Glimmer Twins and crew here step out with all the confidence they were born with and otherwise accumulated, and simply play. Loud. Menacing. Cocky. Slick and rough all at once, like virtually nothing anyone had ever heard before, though all the sources remain transparent enough. Some of the transition may be glimpsed intermittently, through the fabled glass darkly like, in Jean-Luc Godard's typically infuriating quasi-documentary art film of the time, Sympathy for the Devil, where they are seen slowly woodshedding the details of the title sound—the title of the movie, I mean. But even though that odd 6:26 workout would open the album and seem to indicate a statement of purpose, it's the 3:18 romp that opens the vinyl side 2, "Street Fighting Man," that's more the genuine article, certainly in its attack and implicit statement of purpose. The lyrics are the usual pack of lies, as they are throughout the Stones' catalog. That's just what they do, and likely why Jagger prefers mumbling, muttering, and all the other strategies he uses to obfuscate what he's "saying." That doesn't mean, however, that it doesn't work. Remember: you must never underestimate what this band is capable of.

No comments:

Post a Comment