(PICTURE BY JEN, WORDS BY LAURA JANE)
I have this Rolling Stones Greatest Hits double LP I thought I stole from my Dad, but according to my Mom, I stole it from my Mom. It's a really good Rolling Stones Greatest Hits record, so much better than Hot Rocks. I have Hot Rocks too, but I never listen to it, because of Greatest Hits- the tracklisting is very inspired, and 2000 Light Years From Home is on it. I don't know what kind of crazy drug addict you'd have to be to think that 2000 Light Years From Home counts as one of the Rolling Stones' "greatest" "hits," but whatevs man, your drugs are cool to me.
The Rolling Stones' Greatest Hits (or The Beige Album, if you will) is pretty much the only record I'm interested in listening to these days. A big thing I do a lot in my life is "come home from work deliriously exhausted and put Side A of Beige Album on and sit on my couch staring at the wall and then when the side ends I'm too lazy to flip the record over so I sit there listening to silence but then eventually I have to pee which motivates me to flip the record over," and it kills about five to seven hours. These cool Rolling Stones trances have provided me with a lot of time to reflect upon what an underrated lyricist Mick Jagger is (I'm assuming Mick wrote more lyrics than Keith- I don't know, it just seems like that, and I trust that my "Rolling Stones intuition" is in check). People don't talk too much about the Stones being a particularly "literary" rock and roll band; in fact, no one talks about it, ever. But I think it's time to give Mick Jagger credit where credit is due.
As follows is a list of every song on this visionary Greatest Hits compilation, and my favorite one lyric from each song. I'm totally dying of sentence-envy over all of them, which means a lot because, personally, I'm literary as fuck.
Not Fade Away- This song doesn't count because the Rolling Stones didn't write it, but Buddy Holly wrote it, and I'm a deep believer in doing something to honor Buddy Holly's legacy every day, so I will take this moment to shout out my favorite lyric from Not Fade Away, which is My love is bigger than a Cadillac. Obviously.
Tell Me- I hear the knock on my door that never comes.
It's All Over Now- She hurt my eyes open.
Good Times Bad Times- Trust in someone or there's gonna be war.
Time Is On My Side- N/A (they didn't write it)
Heart Of Stone- Really just the phrase heart of stone in and of itself is beautiful enough to count here.
The Last Time- Here's a chance to change your mind, 'cause I'll be gone a long long time is alright. The early ones are a little bit inferior because he hadn't come into his own as a great poet yet. Still solid "early work" though.
Play With Fire- You'd better watch your step, girl, or start living with your mother.
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction- When I'm riding 'round the world and I'm doing this and I'm signing that and I'm trying to make some girl tell me Baby Baby come back maybe next week can't you see I'm on a losing streak...
Get Off My Cloud- In flies a guy who's all dressed up like a Union Jack.
I'm Free- Can't say no to a good I'm free!
As Tears Go By- It is the evening of the day. (Side note: on shitty Hot Rocks, As Tears Go By is tracklisted directly after Satisfaction, which, as anyone who's ever made a mixtape can surely understand, is weak and weird.)
19th Nervous Breakdown- Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax tied w/ the four-word phrasing certain dismal dull affairs
Mother's Little Helper- Cooking fresh food for a husband's just a drag, so she buys an instant cake, and she buys a frozen cake.
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?- The have-nots would have tried to freeze you in ice.
Paint It, Black- I see my red door and must have it painted black KILLS me it's so good. (PS: Purposelessly sticking that comma into the title is SUCH a poety move. I like how the world has collectively agreed to ignore it.)
Lady Jane- Ughhhhhh. This song sounds like shit from a long time ago, and I hate shit from a long time ago; it's so boring and confusing and overwrought and about governesses and, worst of all: dowries. Dowry after dowry after dowry. There's a line from Lady Jane that goes I pledge my troth to Lady Jane- Shut UP!!!!!!! I don't even know what a troth is, but I'm assuming it's a type of dowry. Ew, and in another part he says Your servant am I, like, it's not the Renaissance you guys! Go back to writing Let's Spend The Night Together! It was working for you!
All this being said- writing songs with words like heed and nigh and wedlock in them is total poet behavior. Nigh is the official word of poetry, kind of. I guess my fav lyric is Life is secure with Lady Jane because it's the one that sounds most like regular English.
Let's Spend the Night Together- Don't hang me up and don't let me down.
Let's Spend the Night Together- Don't hang me up and don't let me down.
Ruby Tuesday- Yesterday don't matter if it's gone.
Dandelion- Dandelions don't care about the time.
We Love You- We don't care if you hound we and love is all around we.
She's A Rainbow- She shoots colors all around.
2000 Light Years From Home- See you on Aldebaran- I love songs that talk about Aldebaran. See also: Far Out by Blur.
Jumpin' Jack Flash- I frowned at the crumbs of a crust of bread.
Street Fighting Man- I'll shout and scream, I'll kill the king, I'll rail at all his servants.
Honky Tonk Woman- She blew my nose and then she blew my mind- AMAZING. A+++++
You Can't Always Get What You Want- K hold up- did Mick Jagger think of You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need, or was it, like, an adage that existed before he wrote the song? If it wasn't an adage, You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need is my favorite lyric from this song. It's profound, and has helped me through some seriously trying times in my life. But if it was an adage, it doesn't count, because it gives no weight to my claim that Mick Jagger is a genius poet, just that he's perceptive about which adages to steal (which I guess is a cool skill for a poet to have though), in which case my favorite lyric is In her glass was a bleeding man.
Wild Horses- Let's do some living after we die.
Brown Sugar- Drums beating, cold English blood runs hot.
PS: I would like to mention that my Top Three favorite Rolling Stones lyrics of all time are not included on The Rolling Stones' Greatest Hits. The first is from Sympathy for the Devil (further proof that the guy who tracklisted this album was on drugs- how could you EVER not count Sympathy for the Devil as one of the Rolling Stones' greatest hits? "Nah, I dunno, I think Sympathy for the Devil's pretty irrelevant compared to 2000 Light Years From Home..."); it's And I shouted out "Who killed the Kennedys?" when after all, it was you and me, because duh.
The second is from Rocks Off: Plug in, flush out, and fire the fuckin' feed. In particular I think FIRE THE FUCKIN FEED would be a really sexy inside lower arm tattoo for a dude who cares about rock and roll to have.
The last is from The Singer Not The Song, sentimentally my fav Rolling Stones song because I used to listen to it while thinking about crushes when I was sixteen. It's It's not the way you give in willingly, others do it without thrillin' me. Rhyming "willingly" with "thrillin' me"? Perfect.