Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 488
["Some Girls" is an album in] which the Stones attempt to stop what is a rot (to most observers) by heaving more beef into the arena than of late.
It's an obvious enough step, I guess, meeting the now-conventional charges of geriatric redundancy by harking back to the style of "Exile On Main Street."…
"Beast Of Burden" is more obviously late period Stones, mediocre and still melodyless in its midtempo….
The only track which brings Jagger and his lyrics upfront is the title-track, which is of musical interest only for the spit 'n' spite of the first guitar solo and for the hint of blossom in the chorus.
It starts with a promising inversion of conventional sexual roles, Jagger whining "Some girls give me diamonds … Some girls give me jewelery / Others buy me clothes," which comments (deliberately?) on the singer's increasingly ridiculous preoccupation with jet-set glam-gloss style, before heading into what must be a nod towards Brian Wilson's sexual diplomacy in "California Girls," surveying, as it does, the merits and defects of French, Italian, English and American girls.
But it ends up in downright racism with the lines "White girls they're pretty funny / Sometimes they drive me mad / Black girls just wanna get f—all night," which bolsters up that pathetic old myth about black people's randiness….
But there are three exceptionally good songs here which help kick "Some Girls" on to a "worthwhile" plateau, and, ironically in the light of the "policy-change," they're the tracks which depart most radically from the definitive Stones style.
"Miss You," the single, further explores the funk avenue opened up by the stunning "Fingerprint File" and subsequently flopped into by crass disco cash-ins like "Hot Stuff." It spins sultrily through the New York sidestreets, Jagger dancing into the darkening alleys, hot lips smacking to the thin whine of the harp … and asides from threatening strangers … great.
And then there's "Far Away Eyes," a sharp parody of country cliches. The great problem with parodies is that however well they deflate the musical form under their thumb, they still have to be attractive to listen to….
"Far Away Eyes" overcomes that—it's not only very funny (and here Jagger's extravagantly exaggerated Americanisation pays dividends alongside the lyrics), but it sounds like a good country song with an attractive melodic chorus.
And there's "Shattered," which occupies the pole experimental position at the end of side two. Intriguing stuff, it's spare and subtle with an insistent shadowy sub-riff, everything riding on Jagger's tuneless but compelling spiels: "Love 'n' hopes 'n' sex 'n' dreams are still surviving on the street and look at me, I'm in tatters. I've been shattered."
Which is enough to confirm that it's too early to write off the Stones, and to take enough weight off the more undistinguished pieces to make "Some Girls" worthy of investigation.
Chris Brazier, "More Beef from the Stones," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), June 10, 1978, p. 18.
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