Sliding out of perhaps the greatest winning streak in rock history, the Stones
slipped into decadence and rock star excess with Goats Head Soup
, their sequel to Exile on Main St.
This is where the Stones
' image began to eclipse their accomplishments, as Mick
ascended to jet-setting celebrity and Keith
slowly sunk deeper into addiction, and it's possible hearing them moving in both directions on Goats Head Soup
, at times in the same song. As Jagger
plays the devil (or, dances with Mr. D, as he likes to say), the sex and sleaze quotient is increased, all of it underpinned by some genuinely affecting heartbreak, highlighted by "Angie." This may not be as downright funky, freaky, and fantastic as Exile
, yet the extra layer of gloss brings out the enunciated lyrics, added strings, wah-wah guitars, explicit sex, and violence, making it all seem trippily decadent. If it doesn't seem like there's a surplus of classics here, all the songs work well, illustrating just how far they've traveled in their songcraft, as well as their exceptional talent as a band -- they make this all sound really easy and darkly alluring, even when the sex'n'satanism seems a little silly. To top it all of, they cap off this utterly excessive album with "Star Star," a nasty Chuck Berry
rip that grooves on its own mean vulgarity -- its real title is "Starf*cker," if you need any clarification, and even though they got nastier (the entirety of Undercover
, for instance), they never again made something this dirty or nasty. And, it never feels more at home than it does at the end of this excessive record.