Exile On Main Street

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Posted by Keno on October 07, 1999 at 20:52:31:

OK, I did it again. Since Exile's release I have never been a big fan of this album. Since that time and up to just last week here at the board, fellow Stones fans have asked me to give the album another try. So late last nite and again this afternoon, I did just that. At this point, after all these years, I really did not expect any difference, but since this album is so loved by almost all other fans, I feel like I've been cheated out of that joy they get from Exile, and I do want to feel that joy. I remember about this time last year, when I rated Exile for my site and really wanted to like it and not give it to low a rating. But like all the other times before, me and Exile did not click that well. So why now would anything change? Well, first off, I never listened to the whole album on CD. I was told this may do the trick. I also decided to listen to the album in another way I've never done before - reading the lyrics as each song played. I got this idea last night when I read a post by Beth. She wrote: "I believe the Stones music is meant for your guts, your heart, and your groin, not for all this intellectual analysis." She is right of cause and for the most part this is the way I usually listen to the Stones. Its also why I always liked song on Exile like Rock Off, Happy, Rip This Joint, etc., these songs just grab you and make you beg for more. But what about all those songs on Exile that never did grab me? Unlike most Stones songs, these just may need some "intellectual analysis" to appreciate them. I always knew the lyrics to the songs, but I am not the type to read the lyrics when the song is playing. So, did the CD & lyrics reading help any? To my surprise - YES!! Now it did not help big time, but it still helped. With the CD the sound is better, not that I ever disliked the band's output for this album. The playing on this album is great. I also now feel that the lyrics are also great. The problem for me on a few of the songs is Mick's singing. Most of you know I'm the first one to praise MJ's voice, more so than others here at this board. But not for some of the songs on this album. Mick has always been the master when it comes to eating up words and spitting them out while singing (ok, maybe John Fogerty when he was in CCR did this better). On most song this way of singing adds to the song, but on a few of the Exile songs, maybe not. A good example would be Torn and Frayed. This is a well written song and I only realized this when it was playing and I had the lyrics in front of me. If Mick had taken a different vocal approach to this song it would have sounded better. Anyway, after I listened last night to the album I decided it did sound better to me than it ever did before, so I gave it another go today and re-rated it for the site. Yes, Exile has move up a bit on my chart, from number 13 to 11. Not a big move and still nowhere near the top of my list. No, I still haven't found that same joy most of you find in this album, but at least I like it a little more today and now when I'm asked why it's not one of my favorites, at least now I think I found the answer. So I thank those of you who got me to listen yet one more time. No, you should not have to do an intellectual analysis of any Stones album, but in doing so with this album, it did help me a little bit. Let me close with this, what do you love about the songs on this album that I don't care for - Turd On The Run, Ventilator Blues, Just Want To See His Face, Let It Loose, Shine A Light (I know lots of you like this one) and Soul Survivor. I do like Exile, but I do not love it cause of these songs.

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