Review Summary: Gotta love variety
The Rolling Stones confused me when I started to get into them. Upon hearing popular singles like paint it black, ruby Tuesday, under my thumb and then getting an album of theirs to hear western styled songs completely different from the ones I just listed. I first experienced this when I bought the "let it bleed" album. Then upon growing in my love for the stones I soon realized that the stones were a band fighting between two different genre's. pop rock and western. Brian Jones initially wanted the bands style of music to be more laid back and western and not commercial and that's how it was in the beginning until Mick Jagger and Keith Richards stepped up as song-writers and the band was transforming into something Jones did not want it to.
So after excepting the different elements in Rolling Stones albums I found it easy to get into them. There are two versions of the aftermath album. A UK and a US version. This is so for a couple of reasons. One of them being that US albums never really held more than 12 tracks at the time and songs that were already released as a single in the UK did not feature on the album. So on the US version you'll have the great song paint it black but miss out on amazing songs like "out of time" and "mothers little helper". It's safe to say i prefer the UK version.
Mick Jagger gives us a warm welcome to the album in "mothers little helper" as he sings "what a draaaaag it is getting old" and then off goes Brian Jones with the sitar! Aah Brian Jones. The man of many instruments. The aftermath album is probably the album were he is the most versatile in his instrument playing. Playing instruments that I have never even heard of like the marimbas in under my thumb and he plays those instruments very well. Brian introduced me to an intriguing instrument in Lady Jane. A beautiful ballad and contender for best song on the album. Micks charming vocals and lyrics along with Keith Richards finger-picking make this a master piece. But its Brian's "Dulcimer" that is the star of the show here. he plays it beautifully and goes well with the song. I've never heard of this fascinating instrument before but thanks to him i want to learn it.
"Under my thumb" immediately follows after "Lady Jane". This is a popular stones song and a favorite among allot of people. surprisingly it was not released as a single but it clearly didn't have to be. Brian contributes a great deal to this song playing the "marimbas". after "Under my thumb" the album kind of looses some of the momentum it build up from the first 4 great tracks by leaning more to that western style.
If there was a low point of the album it would probably be "going home" now That song is by no means bad. Though it is far too long and excessive. after 4 minutes of the song Mick just starts panting and repeatedly saying "i'm going home". Jones goes back to playing lead in this one and delivers killer solos. The stones win me back with "flight 505". Especially the way Mick sings it. "put me on flight numba fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive oh five". Charlie watts does an amazing job on the drums keeping a great beat and delivering great fills.
So after going back to normal instruments like the guitar and harmonica. Brian decides to go back to the marimba's he played in under my thumb. In "out of time" he starts off the song by rapidly playing notes on the marimba. The stones do an amazing job on the backing vocals and really make the song great. Another contender for best song. Take it or leave it is another favorite of mines. Brian does great in the backing vocals. I just love how he lowers the tone of his voice in around the end of the second verse then goes back to his original tone. It would seem more fitting to end the album with going home instead of what to do since going home is the longest song on the album.
The aftermath has some faults but the good over-weights the faults. I recommend this album to any stones fan or if you are just starting to get into them like I was.
-mothers little helper
-Under my thumb
-out of time
-take it or leave it