Monday, August 8, 2011

That's Sir Mick Jagger to You

I first heard the Rolling Stones when my mom received Forty Licks as a Christmas gift when I was twelve. Ever since then, I've been hooked. I basically refused to listen to anything but the Stones for the remainder of middle school, I've read most of According to the Rolling Stones, and I've seen them in concert. So you can imagine that I'm going to have an opinion about songs that either allude to the Stones or directly steal from their work. Here are some thoughts:
Moves Like Jagger
I didn't want to like this song. Who is Adam Levine to compare himself to Mick Jagger? There's a reason why the Stones released an album called Forty Licks. I figured Levine should try to at least hit 20 before he declared himself the new Jagger.
But I've completely changed my mind. Levine isn't declaring himself to be better than Jagger; he's showing that Jagger, even at 68, is still a sex symbol. I think it's more of a sign of respect than anything else. Plus, the song is catchy, perhaps the best new song I've heard this summer.
But let's me clear: no one has moves like Jagger.
Gimme Shelter Dubstep Remix.
Why mess with perfection? "Gimme Shelter" is arguably the Rolling Stones' best song, which by definition makes it on the short list of greatest songs of all time. I'm not sure why one would feel the need to tinker with something impeccable. I tend to think that artists who make remixes try to seize upon the brilliance of another to advance themselves rather than to contribute anything to the music scene, though I have been won over by a few well-crafted remixes and covers.
One of the great aspects of the Stone's music is their ability to create a scene. You can see boys charging into the streets while listening to "Street Fighting Man" and feel the pulse of New York City in "Shattered". In the opening of "Gimme Shelter", you can immediately sense the insecurity, so much that by time Jagger sings "If I don't get some shelter...I'm going to fade away", it's already understood. The remix completely loses this sense of setting by taking two lines from the song. Not to mention the fact that no understanding of the 'Gimme Shelter" vocals can be complete without listen to Merry Clayton belting "Rape, Murder, it's just a shot away!" or Jagger singing "I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away, it's just a kiss away."
For those just looking for a techno song, I suppose this remix is adequate. I don't like it, but other people seem to, and in the end, music is all about personal taste, right? But I, for one, will be sticking with the original.

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