Monday, April 28, 2008

Goin' Home

Aftermath (USA version)
Side 2, Track 5
"Goin' Home" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) – 11:13

I went through a Stones phase in high school.

Not a huge revelation, I know – almost every suburban white guy born in the seventies went through the same thing, I'll bet: a period of time where, having grown jaded of the music coming out of your radio, you looked to the past for inspirational stories, and, having discovered the Rolling Stones hits of the sixties and early seventies, considered them to be the quintessential rock and roll band. This phase lasted until you grew tired of their unsubstantial non-hits, when you probably went back to thinking of the Stones as merely a great band.

That's my story. One of the reasons I started writing this blog is to give myself an excuse to revisit some of those non-hits, and give myself a chance to re-evaluate them. I knew there was gold in them thar hills – as I mentioned before, "Can I Get a Witness" has always been a favourite – and I felt I may have dismissed the majority of the band's output too easily.

So far, it's been hit and miss. Some forgotten tracks (to me, at least) surprised me with their ferocity and drive: ("Mona", "She Said Yeah", "It's All Right"), but most reinforced their status as album filler ("Off the Hook", "Under the Boardwalk", far too many blues tracks to name).

Which brings me to "Goin' Home", all 11 minutes of it. I'm not sure, but there couldn't have been too many rock and roll tracks of this length released previously. With good reason: it takes real compositional skill to make long tracks interesting. Most never meet that standard, and "Goin' Home" is no different. The song is essentially over at the 3 minute mark (although I would argue that the song is pretty much over before it starts) – and yet, there's 8 more minutes of boredom. By the 6 minute point the song has devolved into a freeform studio jam, with Mick babbling into the mic without purpose. I mean, the song isn't very good to begin with – a blues-influenced pop number lacking even a bridge. God only knows why they would inflict it on the world, all 11 minutes of its pointlessness. This, then, is the ne plus ultra of album filler.

There is a single point of interest on "Goin' Home": Mick's bom-bom-bom in the chorus, which makes me giggle like a schoolgirl every time I hear it. You will too: