Between the Buttons (1967)

The U.S. Version


 
1.Let's Spend the Night Together 2.Yesterday's Papers 3.Ruby Tuesday 4.Connection 5.She Smiled Sweetly 6.Cool, Calm and Collected 7.All Sold Out 8.My Obsession 9.Who's Been Sleeping Here? 10.Complicated 11.Miss Amanda Jones 12.Something Happened to Me Yesterday

 

Released only six months after the sensational Aftermath, this one, for me at least, can sometimes be hard to distinguish from its predecessor. In terms of style, that is. I listen to the tunes, the arrangements, the instrumentation, and I can't tell much of a difference. In terms of quality, however, I think this one is a step down. The melodies aren't quite as memorable, the experiments don't work quite as well, and at many times they tend to stretch themselves a bit too far.

For reasons I'm not sure of, the British release differed from its American counterpart in two big ways - the two biggest songs were swapped out on the former. The (then) controversial Let's Spend the Night Together and the timeless classic Ruby Tuesday are the first, and best things about the whole album. They never quite recapture the magic throughout the rest of the album. Many times they try valiantly, and to be honest, they succeed more than they fail, and there are only a couple of songs that I wish never had heard to begin with. She Smiled Sweetly is one of those songs that a lot of people like, that I never quite got into, it's also the least ambitious thing on the album. Of course, the most ambitious thing doesn't work well either. That would be the last song, Something Happened to Me Yesterday which sounds like it comes right off the street of New Orleans from a bunch of hung over Mardi Gras patrons. I think Keith sings lead in a bit of the song as well.

In the "interesting" department is Cool, Calm and Collected that has a twenties flapper influence that features Brian Jones on the kazoo. They actually pull this one off well. All Sold Out is a nice little ditty that tends to get overlooked in the band's catalog as well as the follow up heavy laden My Obsession. Also worth getting a bit of credit is the track Yesterday's Papers that, again, has Brian Jones showing off how many instruments he can play (the vibes). The "unofficial" sixth member of the Stones, Ian Stewart even plays some pretty good boogie-woogie piano to accompany the equally eclectic Who's Been Sleeping Here. Miss Amanda Jones tends to hail back to the band's earlier R&B days, while incorporating the newness of their sound that they were embracing.

Had this one come out before Aftermath, I think I may have given it a little bit more credit. Most of the songs resonate quite well, it just seems that it's a step backwards for the band.


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