Classic Album – Rolling Stones – Some Girls (CD review)

Rolling Stones – Some Girls (1978) CD review – The Stones were looked at as old farts by the mid-Seventies.  Their last effort, Black and Blue, was a bloated mess, and new musical styles were popping up everywhere.  On one side, disco was beckoning people to party on the dance floor, while on the opposite end, punk was tossing aside the old guard and getting back to basics.  Somehow, Some Girls manages to take elements of both new trends, yet still sound like the Stones.

The record opens with “Miss You,” the finest disco single by any rock artist (sorry Rod Stewart!).  Bill Wyman shows his versatility – it’s his slinky bassline that drives the song.  But, what makes the track work is that, unlike other dance songs of the day, it’s dark, both lyrically and musically, especially in the spoken-word middle breakdown.  That’s followed by the lean rocker “When the Whip Comes Down” – the Stones haven’t sounded this energized in years.  They also turn in yet another Temptations’ cover in “Just My Imagination,” that is both gritty and tender.  “Beast of Burden” has a reggae overtone and “Respectable” is a furious rocker.  Keith Richards has  his best vocal since “Happy” in the autobiographical “Before They Make Me Run.”

They even have time for a swipe at tele-evangelism in the country spoof “Faraway Eyes.” The album closes with the funky, attitude-driven “Shattered,” with Mick Jagger adlibbing at his sneering best.  If there is one recurring theme, it’s New York City, which was the epicenter of both the disco and punk movements of the time.  What sets Some Girls apart from their previous albums of the Seventies is the sound; their earlier records were mostly dense and muddy, while here the guitars are bright and crisp, and Charlie Watts’ drumming sounds like it’s been wrapped so tight that it might snap.

Although Tattoo You from a few years later is pretty good, Some Girls is the Stones’ last truly great album.  USELESS BIT OF INFORMATION: For whatever reason, the 8-track version of Some Girls contained extended versions of a couple of songs, including “Miss You” and “Beast of Burden” that actually has an extra verse of the song.   – Tony Peters