Sunday, October 02, 2011

Shattered / The Rolling Stones

Now it's my Windows Movie Maker that's gone haywire -- the program I use to make videos so you can listen to the music I write about.  I swear, will the technical difficulties ever end?  These days I have a hard enough time getting time to blog anyway, without having to devote 2 hours to decoding tech issues. 

Blogger is probably punishing me for not switching to its updated interface.  Well, I tried it, and I see nothing about the new interface that improves my blogging experience whatsoever.  It's like making me switch versions of Word (and all along I still wish Microsoft hadn't driven WordPerfect out of the market!).  Now, I'm no Luddite -- just today I tried out a new GPS device that is not a Garmin system, and I loved my new and improved navigation experience. But when something isn't broken, I hate having someone else decide it's time to fix it.  Does the latest version of iTunes really matter?  

So once again I have to fall back on You Tube:

Mind you, after listening to this song about 50 times trying to get it downloaded, I'm not sure I like it anymore.  Well, "like" is probably the wrong verb anyway.  I listened to Some Girls a LOT when it first came out in 1978; I'd just moved to Manhattan, and this song encapsulated all the frustrations I felt, learning how to deal with the Big Bad Apple.  I shared a shabby apartment in a fringe neighborhood, rode a filthy graffiti-covered subway train to work, and climbed up out of the subway every morning in Times Square (the old nasty Times Square, not Mayor Bloomberg's sparkling new Times Square Mall).  So it was oddly comforting to listen to the relentlessly chugging rhythm track of this song, and hear Mick's campy yelps of outrage.

Among the lines that have always stayed with me:

All this chitter chatter, chitter chatter, chitter chatter
'Bout schmatte schmatte schmatte, 
I can't give it away on Seventh Avenue. 

Don't you know the crime rate's going up up up up up
To live in this town, you must be tough tough tough tough tough tough tough

Rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown
What a mess, this town's in tatters

This town's full of money grabbers
Go ahead, bite the Big Apple
Don't mind the maggots 

Don't you just love how opportunistic Jagger's lyrics are?  He'll say anything if it rhymes, or even if it kinda rhymes.  It's just brilliant dumb luck that those rhymes come off as insightful and impressionistic. 

There's no melody to speak of, and the only interesting instrumentation is in the bridge, where Keith rips off several of his own old riffs.  If I were really a Stones fan, I'm sure I could identify them. (If he played the riff from "You Really Got Me," I'd know that . . . ) And yet -- well, this is a supremely fun song. 

This is the last album, in fact,  where I really felt that the Stones were having any fun at all. From there on, it always just seemed like they had to grind out music to keep their enormous enterprise afloat. Mind you, I haven't listened seriously to anything after Tattoo You, but there's only so much time in the world.

But hey, I could be wrong.


Dave K. said...

I loved Some Girls when it came out and still do. Shattered has a disposable quality to it. Not quite sure what I mean by that :-) . I like the punk sensibility, but it's kind of junk food with minimal nutritional value. That doesn't mean I don't like it.

Holly A Hughes said...

It's as disposable as a paper dress -- very much an artifact of its time. Still, when last year's rash of bedbug infestations hit New York, what was the first line that popped into my head? "Rats on the West Side, bedbugs uptown!"

Mark said...

I agree, I think "Some Girls" is the last great Stones album. For whatever reason they never sounded this engaged again. "Shattered" is a semi-forgotten gem from that album, although I guess it was on the "Forty Licks" compilation. Mick's vocal is great.