The Friday Morning Listen: The Rolling Stones – Some Girls (1978)

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by Mark Saleski

It’s the last great Rolling Stones album!! Sticky Fingers! Tattoo You! Exile On Main St.! Beggar’s Banquet! Goat’s Head Soup! Get Yer Ya-Yas’s Out! Uh, that one that Brian Jones was sort of on but not too much!

Sure, it’s a silly argument. It’s also fun. Sometimes the arguments make sense. I mean, I don’t really agree that the Stones made nothing good after Brian Jones died, but I can sort of see where a person’s taste might lead them in that direction. There are other declarations that don’t hold up. For example, there are quite a few people who don’t like anything they’ve released since the mid-1970’s. Ask them when they graduated from high school. The answer will be 1974, I bet (Plus or minus a year. Wait, do I have to do one of those “margin of error” things? Man, I hated statistics).

Anyhoo, I honestly don’t really care what you think the last great Stones record was. I mean, I do care, because it’s an interesting idea…but I’m not going to hold it against you. (Unless you tell me that I’m full of crap, in which case I will double-dog dare you to stick your bare tongue on that frozen flagpole in the school playground. Choose wisely.)

I’m not even sure I want to say which album is “the one,” because it lends credence to the idea that everything the guys have done since has sucked. Ah, what the heck…

But yes, Some Girls is that last Rolling Stones album I loved from beginning to end. I love it from the disco-fied funk of “Miss You” to the punkish swagger of “Shattered.” There’s not a weak one in the bunch. Even “Far Away Eyes” makes the cut, for its simultaneous loving nod toward country balladry and tongue-in-cheek swipe at social conservatism. At the time, punk and disco (or maybe it was disco and punk) had kind of made groups like the Stones seem awkwardly out of fashion. At least, this is what you always read. I don’t know whether or not Mick & Keith were putting themselves out there against the punks, but this record has a ton of energy, and their sleazy appearance on Saturday Night Live surely made them seem more dangerous and unhinged than any of those safety-pin-through-the-eyebrow bands (I say that as a huge fan of safety-pin-through-the-eyebrow bands).

A few (possibly boring) anecdotes. First, as time goes by, I am no longer certain if it is this or Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out that I bought first. No matter. That’s a great one too. Second, I bought Some Girls during a Saturday morning shift at the drug store I worked at during high school: LaVerdiere’s, a small Maine-based chain that was bought out by Rite-Aid some years later. I brought the record home, put it on the turntable, and proceeded to fall asleep on the couch before “When The Whip Comes Down” could give way to “Just My Imagination.” Despite how much I love it, it took me years to not get sleepy during the first side of this record. (Note: I just realized that this came out very close to my last year of high school. Clearly, being a writer and all, what I said in the second paragraph does not apply to me. Consider it “artistic license.” Yeah, that’s it).

I saw a news item just yesterday indicating that Keef says that they intend to record a new album (go ahead cynical types, call it “product”) and put on a tour. I’m all for it. I saw the Stones a few years ago and they rocked a lot harder than they have any business doing, especially with all of that makeup. Maybe they’ll surprise us all and put out a new Stones classic. Hey, you never know.

So what’s your vote for the last great Rolling Stones album? C’mon, don’t be shy. A Bigger Bang? Steel Wheels? Wait, I bet it was Undercover. Ha! You spent all those hours carefully peeling off that sticker, didn’t you??!!

Yeah…so did I.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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