This is when The Rolling Stones really became on their own. This was their first album consisting of 100% original material. Prior to this, the group relied on some covers to fill out their albums. Much like their contemporaries The Beatles, The Rolling Stones knew that they needed to make more original songs to assist with their musical successes. That they did.
Unfortunately, due to the record company marketing standards of the time, the album was packaged different for people in the UK than it was so in the USA. For the review here, we will touch on the UK version of the album, which is commonly focused on from this time.
The first song is a rather amusing song named Mother’s Little Helper which is about a housewife who has a drug addiction. It’s humourous, yet there is a warning about such an activity towards the end of the song. It’s a great way to start this excellent album, with a very 1960s sound about it. Brilliant and witty. Great pop/rock music.
Next is Stupid Girl which rails against a member of the opposite sex from The Rolling Stones. It’s an up yours to said girl, but still is likely a metaphorical character. Catchy, energetic and uplifting listening, although it is a bitter statement. The drumming by Charlie Watts here is superb, mind you. “She’s the worst thing in this world,” is sung by Mick Jagger.
Lady Jane – Mono Version comes next. It’s a deep and meaningful ode to said lady, but is very sixties music here. It has fingerpicked acoustic guitar and harpiscord here to surprise and dazzle you. Another good song from this album, great to hear. Soothing and relaxing listening.
Under My Thumb has marimbas and expertly played guitar parts to boot and discusses relationship issues. It’s a swinging sixties number and relies on some great instrumentation and lyrics here. It’s a great number from this album. Excellent. Towards the end, Mick Jagger goes into some proto Syd Barrett vocals and vocal effects. Cool stuff.
The stomped intro to Doncha Bother Me is awesome, continuing throughout the rest of the track. There is a weird slide guitar melody and a raw, rocking sense of rhythm about this tune. It also has a harmonica solo, rare for music such as this. It’s a good tune to hear and is very fun to listen to.
The extended tune Going Home is brilliant from the start, with beautiful guitar playing and effects, before quickly going into a tune that is catchy and solidly enjoyable. This is the centrepiece of the album, being over 11 minutes long. The groove sensibility here is awesome to listen to. It is a great listening experience and catchy tune. There is some awesome harmonica in the background as well. It then goes into a bluesy stomp sort of piece to hear, with more vocal interpretations of sound effects here. Mick Jagger shouts and yelps all the way through the extended jam here, paving the way for acts such as Jim Morrison of The Doors to come later. It is a great listening experience and is very suspenseful. Awesome stuff. Some almost improvised lyrics are in the jam part of this track, merely adding to the suspense of it all. Impressive screaming is at the end of this long track.
Flight 505 comes next, with its joyous sounding piano part at the beginning, before singing about travelling for a lover. It is an upbeat number, energetic and pulsating with a groove to it. A nice listen, and still sounds great today. Good stuff boys. Some superb drum rolls are here as well. Good effort overall.
High And Dry is likely influenced by blues and/or country music. It’s a joyous stomp piece which is fun to listen to. It is a great interpretation of such a song. A great piece to listen to. Enjoyable and energetic. Some very intricate acoustic guitar is here, too. A great southern USA sort of tune.
Next is the breakup song Out Of Time which is a great song on the subject. A variety of xyplophone like instrumentation is here. It’s an enjoyable and somewhat humourous listening experience. The playing on this recording is very much perfect. Great stuff. A very good listen and well written piece. Some subtle organ is here as well. A little repetitive towards the end as the chorus repeats endlessly, however.
After that we have It’s Not Easy which is another suburban tale of hardship living alone. There is a very 1960s feel in the lead guitar playing here, as well as the rest of the song. The guitar solo sounds like a Fender Telecaster played with attitude. It’s a great and wonderful listen, although it sounds rather dated.
I Am Waiting comes next. It’s another acoustic driven piece which talks about waiting for the right lover. It’s quiet and subdued in the intro, because going into an okay song. It doesn’t sound that special, however. It’s an okay listen, but nothing hugely fantastic here. Still, it’s not outright awful though.
Take It Or Leave It has Mick Jagger singing about setting down the rules for relationships. It’s an interesting musical lyrical concept. Most of the tracks on this album sound very similar, but are great to hear, and this is no exception. The harmonies are pretty cool, mind you. Nothing mindblowing here though.
The very catchy Think is a warning to a lover who does really cross the line and destroys the love in a relationship that one has. There is some good fuzz guitar in the background here, making this an interesting listen. The bridging melody is pretty cool.
Lastly we have What To Do – Mono Version which points to confusion in a relationship. It’s another good listen to be enjoyed. Awesome stuff, and a fine way to finish this album. It is rhythm and blues central territory here.
This is a good album to listen to, and although it is sounds much the same, it’s a decent effort. The only real flaw here is that the music here is rather repetitive. Still, a good effort to hear, even today.