Sunday, December 12, 2010

Entirely Repetitive: Out Of Our Heads Is An Early Disappointment From The Rolling Stones!

The Good: Well-produced
The Bad: VERY short, Lyrically repetitive, Vocally unimpressive, Instrumentally underdeveloped
The Basics: Very simply tunes, vocals and insanely repetitive lyrics make Out Of Our Heads a short album by The Rolling Stones that is very easy to pass by!

In my quest to broaden my horizons, I have took on The Rolling Stones as my November Artist Of The Month (my first review for them was The Rolling Stones, Now! available here!). Out Of Our Heads was the fourth studio recording by The Rolling Stones and it was released as completely different albums in the U.S. and in Britain. The U.S. version is one of the most repetitive, disappointing and blasé albums I have listened to in recent memory. With only a dozen tracks, occupying less than half an hour, Out Of Our Heads is a terrible use of the compact disc medium and makes for the argument that classic albums ought to be combined when put on c.d. This album is most notable for being the album that “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was on. That is the only song of note and the bottomline for this is that because the best song is available on virtually every other compilation, it is very easy to pass this one by. Only four of the songs were actually written by members of the band.

The crux of my problem with Out Of Our Heads is that it is exceptionally boring, both lyrically and musically. First, the album is ridiculously repetitive and not in an intelligent way. Take, for example, “Hitch Hike.” This song is an almost atonal wailing of two men singing the title word (or words, apparently) back and forth to one another. The actual tune that accompanies it is a sing-song progression that sounds like two doorbells playing back and forth. This is pathetically unsophisticated. And unfortunately, “Hitch Hike” is not the exception, it is the rule on this album. “Mercy, Mercy” opens with Mick Jagger repeating “Have mercy” so many times that it makes my stomach tightened up.

Even “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” repeats the title a ridiculous amount in the actual song and that track has the most lyrical diversity to it. Instrumentally, Out Of Our Heads is exactly what it seems on the surface: a guitar-driven band with bass and percussion backing it up. To the credit of The Rolling Stones, the album sounds good, though they were not involved in the production. This album has more of a funky rock sound with the guitars doing fairly repetitive guitar riffs as opposed to random blues plucking. The songs are almost entirely upbeat in their sound with the songs being easily danceable and having decent, if often simple and repetitive, tunes.

Thematically, The Rolling Stones stick with their apparent niche, singing mostly about angst in relationships and random things they encounter. The song that is most clever – and less obvious – than most of the songs on the album is “The Spider And The Fly,” which tells a little musical storysong about temptation. When Mick Jagger sings “Sit up, fed up, low down go round / Down to the bar at the place I'm at / Sitting, drinking, superficially thinking / About the rinsed-out blonde on my left / Then I said, "hi" like a spider to a fly / Remembering what my little girl said” (“The Spider And The Fly”) it resonates well and is different from the monotony found on much of the rest of the album.

Mick Jagger’s vocals show no sign of growth and while he sings his lyrics clearly, he stays very safe in his baritone range. The best track is “I(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and the rest of the album is almost entirely forgettable.

For other former Artist Of The Month artists I looked into, please check out my reviews of:
Break Every Rule – Tina Turner
Any Day Now – Joan Baez
Just A Little Love – Reba McEntire


For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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