The Friday Morning Listen: The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You (1981)

So this week the Rolling Stones had the unmitigated, rock-star pompous audacity to release a new single as part of an announcement about their forthcoming 50th anniversary greatest hits package (coming on November 13th). The reaction? As Warren Zevon sang during his live versions of “Lawyers, Guns, and Money”…the shit has hit the fan!.

Let’s set aside this greatest hits collection issue for a minute (because yeah, it is a little audacious) and get to the actual music. At every turn since Brian Jones died Exile On Main St. was released Some Girls was released the older fans got too old and nostalgia-laden to actually give a shit about anything new Tattoo You was released, any new Stones music has caused a contingent of fans to fly into a tizzy. They’re revisiting old ground! They sound like the Stones covering a Stones tribute band! Gawd, this album is just awful!

The really important ground being revisited is the tired old lament that actually boils down to this (and go ahead a raise your right hand and repeat after me, because you know this is true):

I haven’t really cared about any new music since my second year in college.

There, feel better now?

OK, maybe I’ve played a little fast and loose with peoples’ relationship to music. And maybe there are some older fans who’ve actually purchased music since they sold their old fat-tired Chevy Camaro with the Kraco 8-track. But I’ve heard these complaints so many times that it just feels like the listening has stopped. And the new single Doom and Gloom? I like it. It reminds me of when A Bigger Bang came out. Lots of nasty grinding guitars with Mick flinging a proper amount of attitude. It doesn’t break any new ground? Look, we’re not talking about King Crimson here.

The funny thing about the band’s timeline is that it’s so long people kind of forget that there are several generations of fans who look at the catalog in different ways. On a forum, a guy said that he had “Loved the Stones since Some Girls came out while I was in college.” It’s sounds kind of funny, but there you have it.

As for the 50th anniversary greatest hits thing? I’m not so hot on that. Yes, the tour’s been put off until 2013, but they could have come up with something a little more forward-thinking. Since they’re in this holding pattern, maybe they’re saving up for some crazed tour antics. And don’t worry you old fans, you won’t be disappointed. It’ll definitely suck.

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Tattoo You (Reis) Tattoo You (Reis)

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 writes several 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.