Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Obsession

Between the Buttons (USA version)
Side 2, Track 2
"My Obsession" – 3:17

Part of the problem with the Stones' ambitions for this album was that they were clearly not good enough singers to pull it off. Unlike the Beatles, who were very gifted in that department, the Stones could rely only on a lead singer who, while unique, was extremely limited in phrasing and range. You can kind of hear what Mick was going for in the verse, but you can also clearly hear him miss the mark rather wildly:

And unlike the Beatles, the Stones could not rely on sure-handed, steady background vocals to give the lead vocal an anchor. In "My Obsession", and most of the tracks of this era, Mick and Keith combine to produce some remarkably timid backing parts, of unsure phrasing and dubious pitch:

In time, the Stones would learn to work around these problems – or, more accurately, they learned to work with what they had, that their talents lay in sloppy rock and roll, not slightly arty projects like Between the Buttons, which not only went against their entire aesthetic that they'd developed until that point, but also against their talents.