It's Only Rock 'n Roll

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones / Atlantic, 1974

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


By 1974, the Rolling Stones were moving on autopilot and were in desperate need of a break. They were about to lose guitarist Mick Taylor, and they had been caught in the commercial cogs of the music business for so long that they were beginning to become a shadow of their former selves. While the early Seventies created some of the most noteworthy Stones material ever, it also brought forth arguably their worst album to that point, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll.


This disc is noted for three songs that have been culled from it on classic rock radio – too bad only one of them is marginally worth the attention. “Dance Little Sister” is, sadly, the best track on this disc – and even it is not up to the level of excellence that the Stones had set for themselves. But that’s not saying it’s a bad track; indeed, it does provide some toe-tapping excitement for the listener.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250


If only their half-hearted cover of The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” had that kind of excitement. Gone were the days when the Stones tried to capture the real heart and soul of the old r&b classics that they first earned their bread and butter on; in was this watered-down treacle that barely passes for music. Skip this one unless you can’t make it to the poison control center.


That leaves us with the title track, and the infamous video of Mick Jagger and the boys dressed up like sailors, awash in bubbles. Uh, sorry, but I never really thought this was the greatest track that the Stones ever recorded, and my mind wasn’t changed by hearing it on the album it was pulled from. So that one’s a wash. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)


The bulk of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll sounds like filler, and has the overall feel of an album that was rushed out as a contractual obligation effort. I mean, who else would have the gumption to put out an album with a song called “Short And Curlies”, one of the worst tracks the Stones ever dared to lay down on tape? That one song alone should be outlawed by the Geneva Convention as a torture device.


What’s left isn’t that much better. “Till The Next Goodbye” starts off rather strong, but crumbles due to an extremely weak chorus, and could have easily been the salvation of this disc. “Time Waits For No One” and “If You Really Want To Be My Friend” aren’t bad, but aren’t anything worth writing home about, while others such as “Luxury” and “Fingerprint File” just hit the sonic pavement with a dull thud.


I know It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, but I hate it, loathe it, yes I do.

Rating: D-

User Rating: C



© 2007 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rolling Stones / Atlantic, and is used for informational purposes only.