Posted by Mr. Ventilator on October 08, 1999 at 12:13:13:
In Reply to: Why Exile is NOT a masterpiece posted by keef on October 08, 1999 at 10:52:34:
I agree with you to some extent, Keef. But there are a couple of elements missing in your critique of Exile.
First, Exile is more than the sum of its parts. I think you're right that the number - or at least the percentage - of "great" tunes on Exile is lower than on, say, Sticky Fingers, it is one of the few Stones records with NO clunkers (Sticky Fingers and maybe Beggars Banquet being the others). It has 18 songs that flow together like a river. Exile, more than any other Stones album, has both stylistic diversity and unity of tone.
Second, Exile is one of the few Stones records with a real theme. Actually two themes - America and the consequences of celebrity. The other Stones albums with themes are Sticky Fingers (drugs!) and Some Girls (defiance). Not coincidently, these are also great albums. The themes aren't overwhelming hit-you-in-the-face themes like Pink Floyd's, but they're there, and they make the record more interesting.
Personally, I've gone back and forth between Exile and Sticky Fingers as my Favorite Stones Albums. Recently, I've leaned towards Exile because of it's length (more is better!) and consistency. But song-for-song, I'd have to give Sticky Fingers the edge. No doubt I'll change my mind a few more times over the coming years.
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