by Warren Buchholz
I once blasted “Gimme Shelter” while doing 90 down the Orlando freeway at around 2 in the morning. I was tempered. Exhausted. My days had been long and the passion that poured for someone did not work out. With the windows down, the cool air kept me company. I turned on my digital player and this song shuffled on. Serendipity. This song shouted from the car, and I shouted back. And as I collected my thoughts and raced toward where I was trying to go, I felt strangely better.
This record should be played loud, as it says on the inner sleeve. And it should for the immersive effect. I lie here now on my floor with my headphones on. The disc is out of its sleeve and on my Pioneer PL-1150 turntable. It clicks and crackles warmly for a few seconds before the first track begins to play, and I am greeted to a thesis on passion and emotion.
Digital sound makes you forget that music like the Stones is not supposed to be polished. Perfection does not—and will not—exist, and I have not been able to understand this new age movement to make everything sound perfect. This music is supposed to be fuzzy and raw, like the human beings from which it came. These musicians dig deep, pulling out roots of early blues and grassroots folk rock, to become a catalyst for the listener’s own self-reflection. It was the late sixties. Beatle-mania had faded. Hippy-love funk rock had dissipated. It was time to take back the self.
You feel because they feel. Whether you are irate or heartbroken or passionately in love or a combination of everything. If an artist does not allow themselves to be vulnerable, then their music will never have heart. Their words ring false like the pleather pants they wear, and the audience knows they’re full of shit.
Let It Bleed opens conversation for bringing music back to being truthful as well as inviting others to join in discussion. Lyrics are poetry. Poetry is truth. I think John Keats said something similar. Something about beauty. The song “Let It Bleed” itself is a pledge for this honesty: to open yourselves up and allow other people inside your reality. Through this, you become a better person and find better ways to cope within this bittered world. And if you meet the right people, they’ll be open with some coke and sympathy.
The world is big, and we all get lost and broken somewhere along the way. But don’t ever stop fighting. Don’t ever stop reflecting to find the reality that lies within your soul and your heart. And don’t forget to open up to other people for they, too, will help you to where you want to go.
You can’t always get what you want, and you all know the rest.
MAAF Box Listening Pleasure: Gimme Shelter, Love in Vain, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler, You Can’t Always Get What You Want