Don't Forget This One . . . An Underrated Classic!
Rich Latta | Albuquerque, NM - Land of Entitlement | 07/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The incredible string of albums the Stones pulled off in the late 60's/early 70's (BEGGAR'S BANQUET, LET IT BLEED, STICKY FINGERS, EXILE ON MAINSTREET) is legendary. Many music critics have claimed that GOATS HEAD SOUP isn't worthy of being considered a part of this canon and proclaim that their 70's decline begins here. But in my book, GOATS HEAD SOUP deserves to be considered the final leg of the Stones' greatest ever hot streak of studio albums.
While GOATS isn't uniformly excellent, the standouts rank among their very best songs and the rest, while dismissed by some as merely passable filler, is never less than good. I'm perfectly happy putting on this album without feeling the need to skip any songs.
Mick, Keith et al. would eventually make an even better record by the end of the decade with SOME GIRLS, but I still wouldn't rate GOATS any less than 5 stars. The Stones are in top form here with arguably their best lineup ever including second guitarist Mick Taylor and a handful of other fantastic musicians along for the ride including Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins and original member Ian Stewart. The musicianship is stellar and there's killer guitar playing all over the album.
When GOATS was released, critics tended to over-emphasize its sleazy side (some of the lyrics definitely ARE sleazy) and focused too much attention on Mick Jagger's burgeoning jet-set lifestyle as well as Keith Richards' notorious drug addiction while overlooking the merits of the music itself (a good reason for ignoring critics). Anyone reading the reviews on this forum will note that many people have almost mindlessly jumped on this critical bandwagon. It's true that GOATS suffers from having to follow EXILE, widely considered to be their very best album, although in hindsight GOATS stands as an underrated release. Unfortunately, the 2009 remaster has been censored (?!) and/or botched according to some reports, so this excellent sounding '94 remaster remains the copy to have.
"Dancing With Mr. D" - The Stones slither into the album with the slinky "D" (which no doubt stands for "devil") on a dirty little ditty concerning Mick's favorite alter-ego, admittedly well-worn by this point. ****
"100 Years Ago" - is one of my absolute favorite Stones songs. Killer jamming on some killer grooves, and it sounds like no other song they've ever done that I can think of. The organ sound (actually a clavinet), also featured on "Heartbreaker," is distinctive and powerful. An unusual, sophisticated song that spins off in wildly different directions. *****+
"Coming Down Again" - I'm not a huge ballad fan but I'll listen to any Stones ballad because so many of them are just gorgeous. This melancholy tune isn't one of their absolute best but I still love it. ****
"DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO (Heartbreaker)" - An ominous organ riff soon followed by an explosion of psychedelic guitar freak-out announces one of their most powerful songs, one of their best. Mick wails about despicable tales of debauchery and injustice that wrench the heart. The horns and of course that irresistible choral refrain makes this one essential mixtape fodder. *****+
"Angie" - another heartbreaker and possibly their most beautiful ballad, this one really tugs at the heart. Rightfully considered to be one of their best songs. *****+
"Silver Train" - a good country-flavored rocker about a hot babe that cons Mick out of all his money - and he didn't even know her name. ****
"Hide Your Love" - a groovy, slow-blues shuffle driven by a catchy piano riff courtesy of Mick Jagger. Great beat! ****1/2
"Winter" - a sweet ballad with a good melody and lovely orchestration. ****1/2
"Can You Hear The Music" - a virtual flashback to the psychedelia of 1967, you can almost smell the jasmine floating through some remote Buddhist temple. The strange psychedelic guitar tone achieved on this song is otherworldly. *****
"Star Star" - a.k.a. "Star****er," this song rips on Chuck Berry - it's a fun, cheap kick with VERY explicit lyrics, so don't play it around Granny! ****"