Monday, May 23, 2022

The Rolling Stones, Aftermath (1966)

Rock's no genre for old men. Imagine The Rolling Stones beginning their musical career as young men and blowing up in the twenty teens. It would never happen.

In rock and most music, if it doesn't happen for you in your youth, it won't happen for you at all. If you broke out in your youth, be happy you broke out at all. Few seldom break out.

Given how good the Stones are, could it have been possible they never made music for the public? Sure it is. Clearly if the Stones were born 500 years ago, they wouldn't become a rock band. Why would it be so hard to believe that had they had started just 10 or 20 years before—had they started in the 1940s or 50s—perhaps they would have never gotten off the ground. Perhaps the world wouldn't have been ready for them. Perhaps the Stones's fathers would have said quit making noise, get a real job. Perhaps the boys would have listened.

In addition to fortune, every band owes its dues, too. The Stones would have been nothing without black blues. Blues and honkytonk are all over their 1966 Aftermath. Not that that takes away the uniqueness of the work. This is also the album that leads off with the banger "Paint It Black." The world had never heard anything like that, had they? Imagine the strange concatenation that brought this band and their music about: their musical influences, the right place and time, lucky circumstances, perhaps a word of encouragement from an eccentric aunt.

Of recent days, I've listened to five Stones albums, and they're all good enough to call a top 100 album, this album Aftermath included. That said, there is something here that makes me frown quite a bit. The sex which bears the brunt of the Stones's scorn in Aftermath is women. They call women stupid, they regard them as temptresses, they think women do more to bring men down than to raise them up. The Stones never stop in their tracks to look at the logs in their own eyes. Forgive them, Father, for they knew not what they were doing.

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