Their Satanic Majesties Request(1967)


 
1.Sing This All Together 2.Citadel 3.In Another Land 4.2000 Man 5.Sing This All Together (See What Happens) 6.She's a Rainbow 7.The Lantern 8.Gomper 9.2000 Light Years From Home 10.On With the Show

 

Ah, the psychedelic sixties! Never had the Stones released an album that had such a wide variety of opinion - probably because, even though it was psychedelic in its overall tone, it was a pretty "varied" album - to say the least. They throw in every aspect of weirdness they can in this 43 minute collection. Some of it works very well, some so-so, and some is just flat out awful. The Rolling Stones would prove time after time that they could handle virtually any type of music. Yes, rock and roll/r&b was their core, but they would experiment with Country, Gospel, Disco and even a little bit of Rap. So it shouldn't come as a surprise in 1967 when they (briefly) went in this direction just as most of the peers were doing.

This album, to no great surprise, doesn't contain anything that most people would immediately recognize. The first single She's a Rainbow demonstrates one of the problems with this release. On this song, and a few others such as Sing This All Together and 2000 Man, the Stones try to emulate the "Everything is Beautiful" mantra of the sixties, where everyone practiced free love and danced with flowers in their hair. Unfortunately, this was never this band's "strong point" so the whole atmosphere of these songs comes across as a bit fake.

What does work very well is when the band pushes themselves into the heavy acid-laden sound that was made popular during this time by such groups as the early Pink Floyd. They let the experimentation go wild on such tracks as the trippy Citadel and the eerie, but fascinating 2000 Light Years from Home. Also in this category is the first and only (why?) Bill Wyman penned tune In Another Land that ironically stands out as probably the best thing on this release. Had the band stuck to this style for the entire album, it could have been deemed a classic.

But wait, there's more. Well, less actually. There are other points when no one, including the band themselves especially, has a clue as to what is going on. Sing This All Together (See What Happens) is essentially eight minutes of late sixties jamming on foreign instruments being influenced by incense and God knows what else. Interesting? Yes. Listenable? Debatable. For some reason, they close this album with one of their worst songs ever. The horribly out of place On With the Show sounds basically like a three and a half minute commercial for a strip club. I'm not kidding. It's almost as if they lost complete focus by this point.

So, after digesting this strange meal, it's safe to say that, although uneven, there's still plenty to enjoy here. Although they would never be this radical again in their history, it's a fun detour to observe. It's even a little sad that the band abandoned this style completely after this one album. The positive side was that they were about to release some their best material ever.


Back To Main Page
Go To Next Review