the peaks that this band of bands has always held out as a special prize in the past.
The Stones have never set themselves in the forefront of any musical revolution, instead preferring to take what's already been laid down and then gear it to its highest most slashing level. Along this road they've displayed a succession of sneeringly - believable poses, in a tradition so grand that in lesser hands they could have become predictable, coupled with an acute sense of social perception and the kind of dynamism that often made everything else seem beside the point.
Through a spectral community alchemy, we've chosen the Stones to bring our darkness into light, in each case via a construct that fits the time and prevailing mood perfectly. And, as a result, they alone have become the last of the great hopes. If you can't bleed on the Stones, who can you bleed on?
In that light, Exile On Main Street is not just another album, a two-month binge for the rack-jobbers and then onto whoever's up next. Backed by an impending tour and a monumental picture-book, its mere presence in record stores makes a statement. And as a result, the group has been given a responsibility to their audience which can't be dropped by the wayside, nor should be, given the two-way street on which music always has to function. Performers should not let their public make career decisions for them, but the best artisans of any era have worked closely within their audience's expectations, either totally transcending them (the Beatles in their up-to-and-including Sgt. Pepper period) or manipulating them (Dylan, continually).
The Stones have prospered by making the classic assertion whenever it was demanded of them. Coming out of Satanic Majesties Request, the unholy trio of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Street Fighting Man" and "Sympathy For The Devil" were the blockbusters that brought them back in the running. After, through "Midnight Rambler," "Honky Tonk Women," "Brown Sugar," "Bitch" and those jagged edge opening bars of "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," they've never failed to make that affirmation of their superiority when it was most needed, of the fact that others may come and go but the Rolling Stones will alway-ways be.
This continual topping of one's self can only go on for so long, after which one must sit back and sustain what has already been built. And with Exile O