Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jigsaw Puzzle

Beggars Banquet
Track 5
"Jigsaw Puzzle" – 6:17

Here's another song I never paid much attention to before. The highlight is Mick's vocal attack – similar phrasing that he used in "Sympathy for the Devil", but with a lot more bite. I get the feeling that Mick was the driving force behind the composing and recording of "Jigsaw Puzzle" – in addition to the distinctive vocals, the lyrics are rambling and impressionistic in a way that I've never heard before on any Stones tune. At AllMusic, Richie Unterberger notes

... the similarity to some of Dylan's long, wordy surreal songs of the mid-'60s is close enough that it's a little surprising "Jigsaw Puzzle" hasn't been singled out by more listeners as being a Dylan imitation, particularly since it frankly sounds a little hackneyed in its approximation of Dylanesque weirdness.
The lyrics and vocal are pretty much all there is to the song. The band never develops the country/funk groove they use for the first verse, instead add in some acoustic guitar and piano to the rhythm section, and layer on Brian Jones' rudimentary slide guitar on top, turning the song into what sounds like an extended jam.

"Jigsaw" clocks in at over 6 minutes, almost the same as "Sympathy" – both songs lack a chorus or bridge and use the same chord pattern throughout, but while the latter has a clear direction, using changes in instrumentation and dynamics to build to a crescendo, "Jigsaw" simply repeats those four chords over and over without leading anywhere in particular. It's not a bad song, but I feel like it would pack more power if it had been edited and rewritten into something a little more focused.


Planet Mondo said...

This is one of those tracks that washed over me at first, then 'clicked' a while a later I've grown I love it's lazy loose rambing feel now.

PS Proto Goth band Flesh For Lulu did a cover of this track on their debut album(around 83/84 I think)

Ron said...

"I feel like it would pack more power if it had been edited and rewritten into something a little more focused."

fuck critics!

Nanker said...

If you have not yet witness the brilliance that is Planet Earth, you are in for a treat. A veritable buffet of old school R&B, from the slinky shake of "Raining in the City" to the synth-powered shimmy of "She Got the Jam", this is one meal sure to leave all your funky appetites sated.

If you use that in a press pack, I want a cut of the action.