Friday, November 6, 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: The Rolling Stones, Goats Head Soup (1973)

By Nathan Stallings

Coming on the heels of the Rolling Stones' most acclaimed album Exile On Main Street and a four album winning streak, Goats Head Soup had the deck stacked against it from the beginning as the reviews were less than enthusiastic with some critics proclaiming it the band's worst album since 1967's Their Satanic Majesties Request.

First off, Their Satanic Majesties Request was not a bad album, and neither is Goats Head Soup. As a matter fact, it is very good - and on top of this it shows Mick Jagger and Keith Richards going in different directions, as Jagger is ascending up the celebrity A-list while Richards is slipping deeper into drug addiction.

There are moments that border on the rock n' roll decadence parody that the subsequent It's Only Rock 'n Roll would bring to the surface as the opening track, "Dancing With Mr D." "Dancing" would take the band's (namely Jagger's) satanic image to comic extremes while the closing track "Star Star" (originally titled "Starf___er") celebrated their (and many other celebrities') decadent lifestyle in an over-the-top sexually explicit manner.

Aside from those two tracks there are beautiful songs: such as the haunting "100 Years Ago"; the smash hit ballad "Angie" which Jagger wrote for Anita Pallenberg (who was married to Keith Richards at the time!); the majestic and drugged out tracks "Winter" (which recalls "Moonlight Mile" on Sticky Fingers) and Keith's vocal contribution "Coming Down Again"; and the murky psychedelia of "Can You Hear The Music." Of course there is always good blues rock as "Silver Train" and "Hide Your Love" best demonstrate.

The highpoint along with maybe "Angie" is the socially conscious funky hard-rocker "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" which deals with the grit and filth of 1970s New York City, namely the accidental shooting of a young boy by the police.

While Goats Head Soup might be a notch below Exile, it is much more accessible, not to mention, a great album.

My name is Nathan Stallings and my interests are both popular music and music history. Some of my favorite artists are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, The Smiths, David Bowie, The Kinks, Depeche Mode, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, Chuck Berry, Bob Marley, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Muddy Waters, The Cars, Miles Davis, Smashing Pumpkins, Merle Haggard and The Cure too name a few. You can visit my Rolling Stones website at:

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