Exile on Main St, Radio City (2 Essentials)

Like great rock ‘n’ roll (it is), Exile On Main St relies on it’s sprawl and flaws to elevate it to ultimate majesty. Without ”throwaway” tracks, this one would simply be a good record, and it’s this that defines the great double album. Rock music, from it’s roots, is arrogant, but Exile’s arrogance is flawed; The Stones’ musings on the state of their lifestyle is distant and cryptic, and after repeated listenings, each one a long, hazy, decadent journey, it strikes me as extremely passionate. You can have fun rummaging your way through layer upon layer of ambiguity as well.

10 Soul Survivors out of 10

Note: Does rolling a double album (originally two slabs of organic vinyl) onto a single CD disc make it easier, or do we lose part of the magic?

I’ve been addicted to Big Star’s first two albums for a while now, and the hooks are undeniable. This massively under-appreciated band were among the few arty genuines of that period, and their influence is not only huge, but actually perceptible; Chilton’s guitar tones are raw, but their sound is produced meticulously, foreseeing jangly, ‘C86’ style indie pop/rock. As for the lyrics, they are desperate, but, just like Exile on Main Street; not obviously. Sounds like a recipe for a heady brew if y’ask me. Also, when expanding the boundaries of popular music, do it like Big Star: Enthusiastically, but somewhat unwittingly.

9 Mod Langs out of 10

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