It is odd how time changes things. Although this is considered a disappointment by The Rolling Stones, especially at the time of release, it is considered more valuable than that these days. Yes sure, this album is not perfect. But it’s not awful at all and has some interesting and well-structured songs. It may be no Sgt. Pepper bur it’s enjoyable, so let’s listen to it and see how it has aged.
The classy intro to Sing This All Together is far out and awesome. It then bursts into an old-school hippy jam. It’s got some cool lyrics which are obviously heavily drug-influenced, but despite that, it’s a nice singalong tune to hear. A great intro to this album. There are bongos, trumpets, and tripped out sounds to leave you in awe. It may be hippy stuff, but it is a fun listen. Mick Jagger goes back into singing at the end of the song, a great way to finish the song.
The wonky sounding guitar intro enters with Citadel and is a great number that is surprisingly good. It’s rock music for a fun listen. There are multiple arrangements and a classic rock riff to enjoy. A bit of saxophone is in the background towards the end. Great stuff, hasn’t aged at all this tune. Everything here is excellent and fades out gently.
In Another Land is so trippy and drug-influenced that it really sounds amazing, even today. It’s a psychedelic trip for lovers of The Rolling Stones. Some nicely plucked acoustic guitar is here as well. The lyrics are pretty far out as well. It’s laughable if you have the ability to imagine what Mick Jagger is singing about. Some snoring at the end is a great way to finish the track.
2000 Man looks to a future life not easily able to be looked into at the time. The acoustic guitar and pounding drums propel the music to the next level. It’s a good song, not a great one. Still, it is an interesting listen, even today. Cool stuff to hear in retrospect. The outro sounds like southern psychedelic heaven.
The extended jam Sing This All Together (See What Happens) begins with some hippie talk recorded, before “Where’s that joint?” is asked. It then kicks off with a very good psychedelic random jam. A variety of horns, guitars, background instrumentation, tom-tom style pounding drums, and other instrumental structures were here. It’s nowhere near as bad as the critics would say of it at the time. Sure, it’s hippie stuff, but it does sound good. An energising and interesting long jam. Some weird screaming is in this as well. Flute and Tamborine then enters as everything goes rather quiet. Mick Jagger then sings the lyrics towards the end from the earlier song, and it ends with a King Crimson sort of sound sampling, note that King Crimson was to come later in musical history.
The poppy She’s A Rainbow begins with a sampled announcer shouting, before we go into a totally underrated and moving pop/rock song. It’s a standout on the album and sounds very sweet and nostalgic. It’s so 1960s, yet a great song regardless. The piano sound is perfect here, as are the melodies and choice of arrangements. One of the best songs by The Rolling Stones, no doubt. Great effort. The guitar sound at the end is magical.
The Lantern begins with a clock chime, before going into some wonderfully played acoustic guitar. This is another good song to hear and is very well played and mixed. Mick Jagger’s singing indicates when the music starts and ends. Not a bad listen. There are some interesting saxophone and organ sounds floating around in the background. It is a magical listen, even if it is not a standout track by The Rolling Stones.
Gomper is a weird tune. It is a really 1960s sounding piece, with intermittent lyrics at the start. The melodies here are really good. The lyrics are impressionistic, surrealistic and psychedelic, just like an album like this should be. It may be considered rubbish by many of the time, but it’s a decent listen anyway. The bongos bang away with other freak out sounds and a long jam ensues until the end. It may be hippie trash, but interesting and listenable hippy trash.
The freaky sounding 2000 Light Years From Home starts as a very dark piece. No distorted guitars, just a freaky intro. A chugging guitar riff enters, before the drums by Charlie Watts kick into a great pop song that is unforgettable upon listening. It is about a future where human beings will travel across the Universe. Perhaps psychedelic drugs are, indeed, useful for teaching us about the future? Who knows, but this is a great listen all the same. The midsection is suspenseful before Mick Jagger sings about the spacecraft docking home. Another brilliant pop classic, a must-listen.
The last track on the album is On With The Show is a completely humourous song about guys who ignore going home to their wives, and instead go and watch naked ladies do their thing. There are some silly strummed harp pieces in here as well. It’s actually very funny in the typical British way. Great to hear. A good song, although goodness knows why this was put on here. It’s not bad, just a big laugh. The album ends with drunken men talking to ladies, no joke.
This album is not a great album, but it’s not what guitarist Keith Richards thinks it is in his own words, which was that the album was a disappointment. It’s good to listen now and again to hear The Rolling Stones just make fun listening without there being too much seriousness. Very good overall. It was remastered and re-released in 2017, 50 years after the album came out.