Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street [Rolling Stones, 1972]
More than anything else this fagged-out masterpiece is difficult--how else describe music that takes weeks to understand? Weary and complicated, barely afloat in its own drudgery, it rocks with extra power and concentration as a result. More indecipherable than ever, submerging Mick's voice under layers of studio murk, it piles all the old themes--sex as power, sex as love, sex as pleasure, distance, craziness, release--on top of an obsession with time more than appropriate in over-thirties committed to what was once considered a youth music. Honking around sweet Virginia country and hipping through Slim Harpo, singing their ambiguous praises of Angela Davis, Jesus Christ, and the Butter Queen, they're just war babies with the bell bottom blues. A+