Re: Re: Re: Re: Bridges To Babylon-September 30, 1997

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Posted by Mr. Ventilator on September 30, 1999 at 09:19:20:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Bridges To Babylon-September 30, 1997 posted by keef on September 30, 1999 at 08:26:00:

Thanks for another thoughtul post, Keef. Keep them coming.

I like your overall framework for looking at the Stones work, though I'd disagree with some of your calls on certain albums (Exile higher, VL and ER lower).

While we may all quibble - or quarrel - amongst ourselves about where this or that album belongs in the Stones pecking order, you bring up an excellent topic that doesn't get discussed nearly as much. Namely, how good are the Stones records - specifically, their so-so efforts - relative to stuff put out by other groups?

I have to say that you take a more pro-Stones stance on this question than I do. You like even the worst Stones effort more than just about anything else put out by other groups/artists. I suppose this makes you more of a die-hard fan than I am.

The reason I am a Stones fan is the music they put out in the decade between 1968-78. To me, most of the stuff they have put out since that time just doesn't hold up that well, either against the Stones own music from that period, or against the better stuff put out by other artists. I hear echoes of the band's former greatness on VL and Stripped in particular, but to me they remain just that - echoes.

To me, the great Stones records (BB,LIB,GYYYO,SF,Exile,SG) are the best rock records ever made. The next tier (GHS, IORR, B&B, Stripped (?)) are also excellent - better than 95% of everything else out there. The next tier (VL,Tattoo) are also much better than average albums. Call it 85th percentile. But after that? Only slightly better than average, and in some cases downright poor. (See my post above on ER).

Does this mean I'm not a hardcore fan? Maybe. But I think the Stones - like any other group - are best appreciated for their best stuff, and that the rest is best enjoyed for what it is, without listening through rose-colored headsets.

: Concerning Stones' STUDIO albums:

: In my opinion, there are four kinds(levels) of Stones albums: fair, good, great, and masterpiece. I enjoy EVERY Stones album to varying degrees. I don't dislike ANY album. To me, the WORST Stones' album is better than the BEST from just about anybody else out there.

: There are only two albums that I would classify in the lowest category(fair). THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES was always my least favorite. Again, I didn't dislike it. It has its moments, but it was their weakest album to me. This held true until the release of DIRTY WORK. I know I'm not alone in my opinion that this is the weakest album they've ever released. Not a piece of trash like many have argued, just nothing better than fair, IMHO.

: There are many Stones' albums that make my list of "good" Stones' albums. This "second level" list includes most of the early ones up through BETWEEN THE BUTTONS, as well as more recent albums like UNDERCOVER, EMOTIONAL RESCUE, and BRIDGES TO BABYLON. All of these are good, solid Stones' albums. They are the equivalent of most artists' masterpieces, IMHO. Better than 90% of anything by anyone else. Most of them had potential to be even better, but suffered from weaker production, unfinished, underdeveloped songs or too much production--as in the case of UNDERCOVER and BRIDGES. As for BRIDGES, it seemed much weaker to me at the time of its release than it does now. Coming after the great and near masterpiece VOODOO LOUNGE, it was a letdown. Still a good, solid album that was better than we really had a right to expect and certainly much better than 99% of the music of the time including the music made by the Stones' peers. A similiar thing happened with GOATS HEAD SOUP in '73. A good album that seemed like such a letdown after the string of wonderful albums that preceded it.

: The third level is the great Stones' albums. These are the albums that are second only to the masterpieces. They all are excellent albums, but fall just a little short with not quite enough truly great, all-time classic songs ala "Brown Sugar" or "Gimmie Shelter." Albums in this category would be TATTOO YOU, VOODOO LOUNGE, and EXILE. I know most fans will disagree with me about EXILE, but that's the way I see it.

: Finally, you have the masterpieces. The fourth and final level of all-time classics. The big three for me--LET IT BLEED, STICKY FINGERS, and SOME GIRLS. I don't need to say much else about them.

: I've never understood how anyone could completely dislike ANY Stones' album. I guess I never will..

: Keef


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