Tuesday, February 1, 2022



It's my personal and picayune view that the album It's Only Rock and Roll by the Rolling Stones to part of that Seventies streak when the band seemed to run on fumes. There were songs on each of the underpart discs that were good and in fact rise to the best of the Stones work, but overall, it was my impression that efforts like Goats Head Soup, IORR and Black and Blue nearing the finish line, ready to collapse. But I do love the title song here: “It’s Only Rock and Roll" is one of the few times I'm aware of when Jagger stepped outside all his many personas and contemplating something of an existential crisis. The  song was like walking into a room you thought was empty and finding someone talking to themselves. He addressed maybe being outdated, old, trivial, that his worth is measured by how much the audience adores him and little else.

There is a bit of tension here, as all the questions posed go only way--how and what can I do to make you continue to need me in your lives? How much of a freak must I be? Reflection, though, was never Jagger's strong suit; he has generally spent a career doing the occasional bit of self-examination before spinning off in a self-infatuated tizzy and continues what he's been doing, with glee. It's ONLY rock and roll, it's a minor, even trivial thing in the bigger inventory of what merits our attention, and he is banal by association, BUT he likes it. So, fuck off, bugger off, take a walk and go find another bliss to piss on. The song rocks for sure.

 Jagger's ambivalence on matters of politics, satanism, sex, and love seemed an edgy pose of the moment. Many fans who couldn't completely discard the traditional morality and ethical stances they grew up with were irked by his apparent lack of interest in grave issues and concerning matters.Those he confounded and resented him for his lack of “authenticity” miss an essential part in Jagger's greatness was what he did with his career choice of being the Generalized Other, that personification that upsets expectations. It didn't always pay off in good songs or convincing portrayals --the Stones have a nice fat chunk of their catalog of songs that are pompous, grandiose, spiritually , intellectually, philosophical beyond Jagger's ability to fake--but in their best moments, which is more often than not, Jagger could frame a persona around a solidly conveyed attitude, a situation, and dispatch the narrative wonderfully with genuine irony. The irony here is that It's Only Rock and Roll, the song, is as genuine a Jagger we're ever likely to come across, the man breaking the fourth wall, so to speak, and addressing his audience: WHAT DO YOU GUYS WANT OF ME? He doesn't ask in that way, definitely, but the question is out there

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