NewCC0024: The Rolling Stones

  • Aftermath (66): *****
  • Beggars Banquet (68): *****
  • Let It Bleed (69): *****
  • Exile on Main Street (72): *****
  • Big Hits: High Tide and Green Grass (66): *****
  • Singles Collection: The London Years (89): *****
  • Sticky Fingers (71): *****
  • Hot Rocks, 1964 - 1971 (72): **** 1/2
  • Some Girls (78): **** 1/2
  • The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hitmakers) (64): **** 1/2
  • 12 X 5 (64): **** 1/2
  • The Rolling Stones Now! (65): **** 1/2
  • December's Children (65): **** 1/2
  • Between the Buttons (67): **** 1/2
  • Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2) (69): **** 1/2
  • More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) (72): ****
  • Out of Our Heads (65): ****
  • Flowers (67): ****
  • Tattoo You (81): ****
  • Stripped (95): *** 1/2
  • Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out (70): *** 1/2
  • Their Satanic Majesties Request (67): ***
  • It's Only Rock and Roll (74): ***
  • Black & Blue (76): ***
  • Rewind (1971 - 1984) (84): ***
  • Dirty Work (86): ***
  • Steel Wheels (89): ***
  • Voodoo Lounge (94): ***
  • Bridges to Babylon (97): ***
  • No Security (98): ***
  • Goats Head Soup (73): ** 1/2
  • Made in the Shade (75): ** 1/2
  • Emotional Rescue (80): ** 1/2
  • Sucking in the 70s (81): ** 1/2
  • Undercover (83): ** 1/2
  • Flashpoint (91): * 1/2
  • Love You Live (77): * 1/2
  • Got Live If You Want It (66): * 1/2
  • Still Life (82): *
Author Comments: 

This is a new entry in an up-dated series I'm calling the New Critical Consensus. Several people have requested updates of the older series, and since critical opinions shift, I am revamping the entire system. I am averaging the opinions of several excellent music critics to produce a list of each artist's albums. Rather than using a number system, which was perhaps a bit clunky, I will now be using a five-star system. The albums will be listed in a recommended purchasing order, so new fans will have an idea of where the best place to start buying an artist's work is.
These are not my opinions, although, since I have chosen the critics used (and I'm using many), my taste will perhaps seep through a bit.

Terribly nerdy, I know, but maybe this will help people only now beginning to dabble into certain artists' bodies of work.


***** - Masterpiece
**** 1/2 - Classic
**** - Great
*** 1/2 - Good
*** - Above Average
** 1/2 - Average
** - Below Average
* 1/2 - Bad
* - Terrible
1/2 - One of the worst albums ever

May I ask how you are arranging the five star albums? I think on the original CC lists you said it was by accesibility or best introduction to the artist. If that's the case, I must respectfully but insistently disagree with the choice of Aftermath. There are a few weak cuts (esp. that ridiculous "Stupid Girl"), and it just seems that Beggar's, Let It Bleed, or Sticky Fingers would be better starters for albums, or one of the two hit collections for an overview.

Good question!

I chose Aftermath as the first choice because of its unique position in The Rolling Stone's body of work. Being their first disc of completely original material, Aftermath serves as a transition work (IMHO) between the song-oriented earlier albums and the more album-oriented later works. The songs stand well on their own, but their tunes are beginning to gel into a dark mass somewhat resembling their later masterpieces. This dark nihilism and /or exhaustion of the later albums is a bit off-putting to many listeners, so this album to some degree meets new listeners half-way. Aftermath, besides being a great album, to some degree shows both sides of this fantastic band, and it is this quality that to my ears makes it a perfect introduction to the Stones and a great choice for a first purchase.

Does that make sense?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Sounds like good logic, so I can't argue there. Instead let me ask you the question in a different way (not to get you to change the order, but simply because I'm curious): what album would you have wanted to be introduced to The Stones with? Personally, I don't think Aftermath would have encouraged me to contuinue digging deeper, whereas some of the later albums definitely would have. Of course, the issue is always clouded by the fact that most listeners come to The Stones having heard ten to fifteen songs regularly on radio, so most people have some idea of what's going on with them...

Listening to Costello, My Aim Is True,
Johnny Waco

Tricky question, really. I have the feeling that I enjoy Aftermath more than you do, so keep that in mind.

I am the kind of person who, knowing that an album has a great amount of critical acclaim, will sit down and listen to the album tens of times to see if it truly has any merit. Knowing that, I would wish to be introduced to the Stones by their finest, which in my book is Exile on Main Street.

Most people, however, giving a new band a try will not give it as many chance as I do, and since Exile is thoroughly alienating on the first few listens, I really couldn't put it at the top of the list here. I truly believe that Aftermath does the best job of grabbing new listeners and of introducing many of the important facets that the Stones incorporate into their greatest music in one bold, brilliant swoop. While Aftermath is certainly not their best disc, I do believe it may well be their finest introduction.

Thanks for the comments. I hope all I wrote makes sense. I'm still quite under the weather, so as far as I know, my feverish writing is completely a mess...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs