Last week I downloaded the newly reissued Rolling Stones double album 1972 classic “Exile on Main Street” — a record I’ve loved for over 20 years but have never owned digitally (the one remaining tape in my car is a seemingly impervious cassette of Exile I bought in the late 80’s)
Anyway, it’s still great. It’s still one of my top 10 favorites. And I’m convinced if it was released today there is absolutely no way I would ever grow to love it as much as I do.
Because I don’t give anything that much of a chance anymore. Honestly, I rarely make it through an entire album these days. With the shuffle feature planted firmly on the main screen of my iPod I’m more inclined to jump from Tumbling Dice to Vampire Weekend to Frank Sinatra singing “Witchcraft.”
What a shame.
Because Exile On Main Street is an ALBUM in the truest sense of the word. When I first heard it my freshman year at NYU it shocked me — because I didn’t really care for it. I had heard it was the Rolling Stone’s masterpiece — but on first listen I was totally underwhelmed. There were only two songs I even recognized (Tumbling Dice and Happy) and frankly, most of the songs sort of blended together into a murky bluesy, twangy, faux-gospelly sonic sludge.
If it wasn’t for my sheer laziness — my unwillingness to change the tape that played over and over again on my roommate’s auto-flip cassette player — I never would have been sucked in. I never would have grown to marvel at the sheer explosive density of the sound, the perfectly calculated sloppiness (I swear it sounds like someone has to periodically kick a semi-conscious Keith Richards out of his coma every few minutes to remind him to bark out a vocal harmony or two). I never would have let it grow on me.
Now, this isn’t some sort of “the problem with this new generation of kids” kinda rant. Because, frankly, I don’t have much patience these days either. We no longer live in a “grower” album kind of world. Heck, it’s barely a singles world either. It’s more of a click on a 30 second song sample on Itunes and move on kind world. And, well, that kinda sucks — if it means we’re going to miss out on the next great “Exile.”
So… have an hour or two?
CLICK HERE to listen to streaming of the full album EXILE ON MAIN STREET. Matter of fact, when it finishes, I suggest you give it a second click. And a third.