Let It Bleed stands as a critics’ favorite among the Stones’ catalog. For me, it will always be a huge disappointment.
I grew up with lots of music in my house. In particular, my mom loved playing The Rolling Stones – up to 1967. After that year, she didn’t spin any of their platters. I grew up to Between the Buttons, 12×5, and December’s Children. I loved those albums. I believed that they could very well be in the running for “World’s Greatest Rock Band” based on those tasty tracks. But my mom refused to play the post-’67 Stones. Why, mom? “They’ve been dead from the neck up since 1968,” was her reply.
One day, many years later, I questioned my mom’s judgment. After all, she didn’t like Led Zeppelin… maybe there was something to the Stones after 1967. I’d heard their stuff on the radio and liked some of it. So I tried out Let It Bleed. It had “Gimmee Shelter,” “Midnight Rambler,” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” all songs I enjoyed. It promised to be a true pleasure, one of the greats.
Whaddya know, my mother was right.
Those three songs were the only ones I did like of the nine on offer. Most of the album sounded like a drug-fueled bar crawl. I didn’t hear the spark and brilliance I knew from their earlier work. I got the feeling the album was successful because the Stones were popular and that, therefore, anything they did had to also be successful. Success also meant importance, so the album became something on the order of Paris Hilton – famous for being famous.
I like a third of the album and can’t stand the rest. I really don’t like it. 3 out of 10 and I’ll defend that.