Liner Notes

The Rolling Stones – Dirty Work


Like I mentioned yesterday, the next set of albums I plan to listen to are the original ones for all the songs on the Baby Driver Soundtrack. Track 2 of the soundtrack is Harlem Shuffle by Bob & Earl. Unfortunately, they only ever released it as a single. However, while reading about that on the Wikipedia page, I discovered that The Rolling Stones covered it on Dirty Work. So here we are.

It’s probably not too fair to compare an artist’s or band’s later works to their masterpieces. Dirty Work is their 18th album. Eighteenth! The fact that they were even able to record that many albums is an accomplishment. Even if Dirty Work is as horribly ’80s as the album cover suggests. The Stones fell into the same weird trap every band in the ’80s seemed to: “hey, let’s make the snare echo!” I don’t know who thought that was such a great idea that it made it into every song written in an entire decade, but it’s horrible. It’s in a lot of the songs on this record, but Too Rude takes the cake as the worst use of it I’ve ever heard. The fact that that horrible faux reggae dumpster fire isn’t actually the worst song on this album was surprising to me, but Back to Zero was just painful to listen to. Too little too late were the title track, which reminded me of Steely Dan more because of the style of the music than the name of the track, and Had It With You which seemed reminiscent of Chuck Berry. But even those two songs were mediocre at best.

I’m reminded now of something I heard somewhere about movie remakes that’s always stuck with me. The gist of the argument is that at worst, movie remakes are neutral. Maybe they’re great. If they aren’t, maybe they’re at least good enough to bring a new audience to the original movie. But no matter how bad they are, they don’t make the original movie worse by existing. So even if a movie is remade, it doesn’t matter as long as the original exists. I guess that same logic can be applied here. Back to Zero is the worst Rolling Stones song I’ve ever heard, but that doesn’t make me love Bitch or Gimme Shelter any less.


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