Monday, April 21, 2008

Paint It, Black

Aftermath (USA Version)
Side 1, Track 1
"Paint It, Black" – 3:45

One of the rules I set myself for this project was that I would approach each song not only as if I'd never heard it before, but also as if I had no knowledge of their future releases. I've already violated that rule a few times, but I still think it's a worthwhile goal.

It's going to be hard to apply the rule for "Paint It, Black", a song that has somehow become closely identified with the Vietnam War through its inclusion in movies and television, even though the lyrics and music seem to have no connection to it.

Also problematic is the fact that we know the Stones will within a few years go on to become THE iconic rock and roll band, exemplifying straight-ahead, no-nonsense rocking, but are heard on "Paint It, Black" to be embracing 60s psychedelia with some unsettling enthusiasm, what with that guitar melody and the sitar and everything (not to mention the weird random comma in the title). I think Chuck Berry said it once, there is nothing less rock and roll than a sitar.

Then there is my personal history with the song, which inspired some pretentious philosophising back in my high school days. I can't be the only person who had that experience or something similar, but that doesn't make the memory any less cringe-worthy.

So can I get away with saying absolutely nothing substantive about "Paint It, Black"? I think I just did.

PS: Did you know the word was "substantive", not "substansive"? Until this very moment, I did not. I've been saying substansive my whole life, and not only has no one every corrected me, but I have never heard any one ever say the correct form, or at least I never noticed.

PPS: I should probably say something about the weird bass on the recording. Numerous sources claim that Bill Wyman not only recorded a standard electric bass track, but duplicated that by playing it on organ bass pedals (presumably a Hammond B3). I'll admit that I can't really hear the pedals because my mp3 rip is pretty muddy, but there is something there besides the bass. Also, there is that crazy slidey bass thing played at the end during the outro – that sounds like another overdub. This is what I'm talking about:


mustarhd said...

According to Richards, there wasn't supposed to be a comma in the song title. It was added by the record label. Perhaps they should read: "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" by Lynne Truss

Nanker said...

This site
says "Andrew [Loog Oldham] and the Stones were really into commas late 1965. Ride On, Baby and Long, Long While just to name a couple of titles recorded during that era."