Shot Of Rhythm

[ Thursday, November 16, 2006 ]


Better half

Recently, thanks to the recommendation of a few friends with a very good track record in this area, I caught up on the first season of VERONICA MARS, the combination detective show/high-school drama that's currently in its third season. Apart from the fact that, once again, my trusted recommenders had come through (it's a damn good show, for those who haven't seen it), I was struck by a particularly cagey music reference. One episode deals in part with a lecherous history teacher who seduces his female students, and - in his romantic pursuits - said lech' uses the ballad-heavy second side of the Rolling Stones' TATTOO YOU as "mood music." This reference struck me as being mighty astute, even Hornby-esque, and immediately sent me back to TATTOO YOU, an album that has always been near the top of, though not quite all the way up on, my list of favorite Stones records.

In revisiting the famous second side, I realized that this might be among the single best sequences of music that the GreatestRockAndRollBandInTheWorld has ever recorded, and - even among post-1972 triumphs like SOME GIRLS and the underrated BRIDGES TO BABYLON, not to mention the other side of TATTOO YOU - is perhaps the closest (in quality) to their towering run of creativity from BEGGAR'S BANQUET to EXILE ON MAIN STREET. Unlike the riffs-and-rhythm of most of their signature tunes, the slow jams and pretty songs that make up TATTOO YOU's second salvo demonstrate that Mick, Keef and company are capable of great, grooving nuance, simultaneously free of irony and of over-eager sincerity; even Jagger's falsetto on "Worried About You" resists the urge for caricature, thanks in no small part to the tune's full-throated chorus. After listening and re-listening over the past few days, the five songs have become my current favorite 20 minutes of the Rolling Stones. I'm a particular fan of the last two songs: "No Use In Crying" is highly underrated within the group's catalog, a supple bit of honky-tonk funk (George Jones meets George Clinton) that aches with melodic, melancholic yearning. "Waiting On A Friend" is, appropriately, much more famous, and still deserves to be spotlighted as an example of the Glimmer Twins' sweetness and gift for pop songcraft.

So, below is the second side of TATTOO YOU, which I present not only to make my case, but also to suggest that - as (truly) great as the digital age has been for music, in so many ways - the loss of the album side (or EP) as a unit of artistic accomplishment is really too bad. Anybody have favorite sides of albums that, even when considered in context with the other half (or quarter) of the work, particularly stand out?

Ladies and gentlemen, the Rolling Stones...

"Worried About You"



"No Use In Crying"

"Waiting On A Friend"

On the box right now: Beyonce, B-DAY.


Dove With Claws [7:11 PM]