The latest Vulture “every track ranked” list does the Stones. It’s not the worst of these (which is the Led Zep list that basically ranks the songs by AOR airplay, which works particularly badly for that band), but of course there’s plenty to agree with or complain about. A reader asked for my alternative top 5, which I played around with before deciding that 1)there’s too much competition and 2)I have trouble divorcing songs from their best period from their albums. So while you can feel free to do so I’ll just add some random comments:
- The fact that the author doesn’t know that the excerpt from “Key To The Highway” was a tribute to the recently deceased Ian Stewart doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in his judgment.
- I agree with the implicit augment that Sticky Fingers and Let It Bleed are their greatest albums, although “Wild Horses” belongs more towards the end than the front of the former’s songs. Any track-by-track rather than album-qua-album list will disadvantage Exile, though.
- The rankings of songs on Goat’s Head Soup and especially Some Girls strike me as bizarre. (“Respectable” ranking behind “Lies,” “Imagination,” and a bonus cut?) I agree that the title track of the otherwise-excellent Some Girls sucks, though.
- I do appreciate him standing up for the best material on Satanic Majesties, especially “2000 Man.”
- I agree, FWIW, that Dirty Work is a little underrated and their second-best album of the 80s. I don’t get the idea that their 80s albums, are, in general, better than the 3 subsequent non-covers albums, all of which are as good or better than Dirty Work and way better than Steel Wheels or Undercover. Any 80s-over-90s argument would have to lean heavily on Tattoo You, which since it’s mostly polished outtakes from the 70s doesn’t really count.
- Speaking of which, I’m guessing a lot of criticism will focus on the relatively high ranking of “Start Me Up.” While it’s too high I will out myself as an apologist for this anthem of sports arenas everywhere, for two reasons: 1)”Brown Sugar”‘s riff without its lyric is a valuable public service; 2)Charlie’s fills, especially in the second chorus.
- I suppose it’s pointless contrarianism to complain about “Satisfaction” in the top 10. It’s a very good song, of course, but even among singles from roughly that era, if we’re talking aesthetic quality rather than influence there are a number I prefer, including “Get Off My Cloud,” “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Long, Long While” (which is obscenely low at 203.)
- “The Worst,” which is at 202, also belongs a lot further up from the likes of “Where The Boys Go” and Exile-outtakes-for-good-reason, as does “Saint of Me” (one of their strongest post-Tattoo You tracks, with Ronnie doing an excellent Keith impersonation and Waddy Watchell doing a good Mick Taylor impression, and unusually committed vocals from late-period Mick.)
Anyway, I open the floor to the parlor game.