The Rolling Stones
Let It Bleed


4.5
superb


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite some consistency issues, Let It Bleed proves to be a worthy successor to the groundbreaking Beggars Banquet.

The turn of the 70's was a huge shift in focus not only for the Stones, but for rock music in general. Psychadelia was reaching its climax, and the Beatles were on the brink of breaking up. The Rolling Stones until then were on a steep critical slope following Aftermath, which, while well received, didn't have follow-ups quite as readily applauded. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and the late Brian Jones decided to take a trip through memory lane and reexamine their roots in classic blues music, a path which culminated with a much needed commercial and critical success following the mediocre release of Their Satanic Majesties Request, which nearly put the Stones out of relevance in the eyes of critics and the general public.

1968's Beggars Banquet was a huge step in the right direction for the Rolling Stones. Not only had it helped bring about the return of many a fan from the British Invasion era, but it also put them back into a favorable spot in the eyes of rock critics who frowned upon the Stones' joining on the recent trend of psychadelic rock. Now that Banquet put the Stones back in the forefront of rock n roll, all eyes were upon them for a worthy follow-up, to which the band responded with Let It Bleed.

Let It Bleed basically continues the Banquet formula, and pretty much eliminates all the traces of the band's psyche days that still lingered in Banquet. The stripped down melody that backed lead singer Mick Jagger in Banquet's intro, "Sympathy For the Devil", somewhat resembles the one backed with the powerful vocals of Merry Clayton in the iconic "Gimme Shelter". The sexual themes of songs like "Stray Cat Blues" that took up about 2-3 tracks in Banquet begin to take a much larger presence in Let It Bleed, with songs of this nature taking up more than half the album's runtime.

But the most obvious difference between Let it Bleed and its predecessor is the production. Beggars Banquet, as much of a classic as it is, suffered from sound quality issues that made the songs all sound somewhat hazy and unclear, an issue that is still present despite numerous remasters. Let It Bleed surprisingly doesn't have these minor kinks, allowing for a much clearer sound in general.

Possibly the best part of Let It Bleed is its pure blues focus. Tracks are almost always memorable with their bouncing melodies, Keith Richards is as accomplished a musician as ever, and Mick Jagger fits the music as well as he ever has. The country, gospel, and folk influences are as present as ever and it's readily apparent that the Stones are truly enjoying themselves in the studio. And that translates very well into the CD, making it a worthwhile entry to the Stones' extensive catalogue. These grooves also happen to be just as infectious, if not more, than those of their predecessor. Take 'You Can't Always Get What You Want', a sequel-of-sorts to 'Salt Of The Earth', which happens to be the Grooviest track on Let it Bleed. It has a fantastic chorus, great rhythm, and fantastic background melody, bringing the album to a perfect close.

However, this album is not without its fair share of issues. The first and foremost being those lyrics mentioned earlier. If anything, Let It Bleed is a sign of the over-the-top approach the Stones would take to their sexual themes in later albums that would make them become self-parodies struggling to maintain relevancy in later years. And it's not hard to see why when taking the title track for instance:

"She said, "My breasts, they will always be open
Baby, you can rest your weary head right on me
And there will always be a space in my parking lot
When you need a little coke and sympathy"

If there was one song in particular that the album could easily do without however, it would have to be "Country Honk". An original version of the Rolling Stones' own 1969 smash-hit "Honky Tonk Woman", "Country Honk" shows heavy bluegrass influences right down to even a fiddle solo, this song also happens to be the dictionary-definition of filler. With dull instrumentation, mediocre vocals, and only a semi-decent chorus, "Country Honk" fails to make any impression on the listener, not to mention that it pales in comparison to the later version, which would have been a much better fit for the record instead.

Let It Bleed is not as good as Beggar's Banquet, and altogether is probably the least memorable of the albums released during the Rolling Stones' "Golden Age". Even so, Let It Bleed has plenty of great songs that deserve their place on the Stones' extensive catalogue.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I said I would write it, and I did. Feedback appreciated

manosg
Contributing Reviewer
June 2nd 2014


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Favorite Stones. I'll read the review in a while and let you know man.

Digging: Witchwood - Litanies from the Woods

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just sayin', I added a paragraph after realizing I forgot to talk about what I liked about the album,

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
June 2nd 2014


24006 Comments


gimme shelter is probably my favorite stones song

Digging: Converge - You Fail Me (Redux)

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's def up there

Friday13th
June 2nd 2014


5430 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This will be my next stones album to check out. I've heard "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get

What You Want" and those are good. I still have a hard time getting into their sound based on "their

roots in classic blues."

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beggars Banquet was better, just sayin'

menawati
June 2nd 2014


16408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

stones to me are like 7 or 8 incredible songs plus lots of stuff i just never want to hear again, gimme shelter is amazing song

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like to think that I'm a bit more inclusive when it comes to the Stones' stuff

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This would easily have been a 5 had they used the original 'Honky Tonk Woman' instead

menawati
June 2nd 2014


16408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

might spin it later, just whenever I listened to a stones album all the way through i got really bored

Atari
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2014


21836 Comments


In 3rd paragraph u misspelled mick jagger. Also, at end of paragraph one I'd change magesties to majesties. Nice job though man! Sorry I never got back to u In the proof reading thread was a busy weekend :3

Digging: Imperium Dekadenz - Dis Manibvs

menawati
June 2nd 2014


16408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

no, leave it as Muck Jagger haha, pos anyway rev is solid

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Menawati, you should at least try the final track, it actually beats Gimme Shelter imo.

(I'm being serious)

menawati
June 2nd 2014


16408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

probs heard that song 100 times, pretty good yes, have listened to all their records at least once but like i said stones just dont do it for me in general apart from certain standout songs

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It ain't hard to see why lol

menawati
June 2nd 2014


16408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

how do you mean ?

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Their albums usually consist of a couple extremely memorable songs surrounded by songs that are not quite as good(but

still awesome imo). it's easy to see someone going into a Stones album with the standards of 'Shelter' and ending up

not quite impressed

SharkTooth
June 2nd 2014


13431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

In other words:

their highlights can outshine everything else

TwigTW
June 2nd 2014


1838 Comments


Here is my question; Why is "Gimme Shelter" the first song on the album? Everything sounds duller after hearing it. It should be the last song--not the first.

Digging: Thomas Feiner & Anywhen - The Opiates Revised



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