The Rolling Stones gave rock & roll a menacing edge at the outset of the British Invasion. The Stones were influenced by the blues and played music with a carnal edge, acting as the anti-hero equal of The Beatles, even if Chuck Berry and others made the entire genre feel like a never-ending party. However, with the benefit of hindsight, not all of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ songs still hold up.
There are occasionally Stones songs that strike a nasty note when taken out of context, despite the fact that they may be regarded classics for a cause. The rock scene in 2023 is quite different from that of 1973, and the majority of songs tend to veer into controversial terrain, including casual chauvinism against women and some suggestive statements that could make listeners shudder.
Of all, being a little gritty has always been a part of The Stones’ persona. Fans were prepared for some smut from the lyrics of “Satisfaction” from the moment Mick Jagger hissed them. The rock community has spent decades criticizing them for this despicable behavior, despite the fact that some of the issues in these songs were then more commonly acknowledged.
As much as fans may want to jam out to every riff that comes from Keef’s guitar, they should instead focus on what the songs are actually expressing. On rare occasions, it could be harmless rock and roll entertainment, but more often than not, the song has probably become as stale as milk.
Five Rolling Stones songs that haven’t aged well:
‘Miss You’ – Some Girls
Any rock band will almost certainly succeed with a song about heartbreak. The blues had a role in The Rolling Stones’ upbringing, and their appeal was entirely based on writing gritty, debauched songs about falling in love. It might not be best to arrange a song about missing someone and sobbing your heart out to a dancing tempo.
Written at the height of the disco frenzy, the majority of “Miss You” has Mick Jagger singing one word throughout the course of the song and sounds like an elderly guy yearning for his girlfriend. While the band maintains a solid musical sound, the tune has nothing to latch onto and becomes stale very quickly.
This is the type of vacuous hit that has nothing to say other than “The Rolling Stones have a new album out,” even if most of The Stones’ stuff would improve on the remaining Some Girls tracks. This is as PG as the poorly-aged tracks will get, especially given what they get up to in the remainder of their discography.
‘Under My Thumb’ – Aftermath
Love songs were the primary source of income for half of the British Invasion acts. If The Beatles had taught the world anything, it was that love song were guaranteed to be popular no matter what. The Rolling Stones, however, have always represented the other side of the coin, and their song “Under My Thumb” elevates poisonous relationships to a whole new level.
For the majority of the song, Mick Jagger expresses his joy at having his girl follow him around. Mick Jagger is pleased for all the wrong reasons, being thrilled that his woman only talks when she is spoken to and will always be at his beck and call whenever he wants her, despite the crime of having a Rolling Stones song that is truly pleasant.
It may be simple for some fans to put it down to the changing times, but it’s difficult to forgive phrases that come out as so possessive, especially when Jagger continues to lament in some of the songs about other areas of his life that can’t be resolved by having a compliant partner. Anyone who attempts to pass off these words today will get a beer thrown in his face. The Stones may have developed several genres of rock and roll over the years.
‘Might As Well Get Juiced’ – Bridges to Babylon
The finest songs from the Rolling Stones have a tendency to be timeless. Because of how wonderfully the band sounds as a unit letting free on some of their best songs, albums like Beggars Banquet and Exile on Main St. still stand up even with certain outmoded production aspects. Although The Rolling Stones may not be limited by time, most people probably know when “Might As Well Get Juiced” was released.
This deep cut on Bridges to Babylon feels like a discarded experiment where The Stones tried their hand at dance music after some really disastrous efforts to go pop in the 1980s. The Rolling Stones are not immediately apparent in the opening measures of this song, which then sprinkles in some Keith Richards-inspired elements before reverting to some of the shoddiest dance production ever to appear on a mainstream rock album.
Jagger tries to sell it with his swaggering delivery, but the music always knocks him down. The Dust Brothers’ production never plays to the band’s strengths, either wandering in circles or purposefully undermining the song’s swagger when things are building to a solid conclusion. When performing songs by Robert Johnson or Howlin Wolf, The Rolling Stones have always been expert interpreters; yet, seeing them attempt to do the same with musicians like Beck is akin to witnessing a group of inebriated uncles attempting to dance at a wedding.
‘Brown Sugar’ – Sticky Fingers
Brown Sugar is still regarded as a great song by The Rolling Stones. Sticky Fingers’ smooth sounds, which began playing as soon as the needle touched the record, prepared the audience for a riotous good time straight away. Even though the song seems like the perfect background music for a wild bar brawl, the sexual overtones in the lyrics are enough to get someone fired nowadays.
Jagger sings of the sexual satisfaction he gets from his female pals as the song opens and how vociferous they can get after midnight. Even though he appears to be having fun, the lyrics’ meaning is horrible since they describe the New Orleans slave trade, during which white settlers set up camp and sexually raped all of the African women who were being sold off.
If anything, it makes Jagger’s performance of “How come you taste so good” much creepier, as if he were one of the callous white settlers exploiting this girl. Even said, the band has since changed the objectionable lyrics anytime they performed the song live after realizing their mistake. I suppose it’s better late than never.
‘Stray Cat Blues’ – Beggars Banquet
By the end of the 1960s, The Rolling Stones had partied more than any other band would ever need to. Each member was living the fantasy that most wicked youngsters would only dream of, from the drug-fueled binges they would go on to the ladies throwing themselves at them. With such a mentality, The Stones could also cause themselves a lot of problems. ‘Stray Cat Blues’ is an example of sexual activity carried to its most heinous extreme.
When you reread the song’s lyrics, it becomes clear that this is one of Beggars Banquet’s most seductive songs, as Jagger describes seeing a woman friend across a large party. Jagger sneaks in one ridiculous detail when he states that this lady is just 15 years old, meaning that he will have his way with a youngster without consent. While most Stones fans are surely aware of where this is headed.
The warning signs only get worse in the subsequent verses, as Jagger invites this girl’s companion to go up with them and won’t accept rejection when she attempts to ignore him. This girl has every right to be afraid in any other circumstance, but for some reason, Jagger gets to play the part of the pedophile because he’s supposedly just that cool. Even if the Stones were at the top of their game, no amount of popularity can justify a song about a sexual predator patiently following his prey.