Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Exile on Main Street Versus Funeral

Thing the A: Since it took something like two weeks to get a matchup that I had to decide on myself, I don't feel too bad about taking a few days to get this in.

Thing the B:

While much of the time went to going camping this past weekend, much of it also went to me trying to get what the big deal is with Exile on Main Street. I don't think I'd ever listened to the entire album before. I remember putting it on and skipping through some tracks and putting it away at some point (probably grabbed it from either Eric or Andy's collection). So now I've listened to it at least five or six times and heard a crapload of Mick Jagger on various NPR shows talking about the rerelease with extra stuff and how crazy it was that they were in France and it was a big party and they were hanging out in the basement and recording and stuff and I think I get a little more of what the big deal is. It has a distinct sound that I don't think really existed before this album. I keep coming back to the piano. I like the piano sound quite a bit. In fact, I think I'd trade some of the trying-to-be-iconic guitar riffs for more piano. This is not really a negative or positive, but I keep thinking of the theme to the Office UK.

I think my problems with this album mostly boil down to one: It's a double album. Looking through my notes, my negative feelings are either:
1. Bored pretty early on (Loving Cup, Stop Breaking Down, All Down the Line)
2. Sounds like an accident (Sweet Black Angel, I Just Want to See His Face [should have lasted about 30 secconds])
3. Blues sounds poserish (Casino Boogie, Turd on the Run, Ventilator Blues)

There are some great grooves on here, but they seldom go anywhere. I could probably google it, but I'd rather let Father Eric tell me which songs have been sampled where. I like the choir, but they usually sound like an attempt to add some interest to an otherwise uninteresting song. Shine a Light is the only song I'm really into and want to listen to over and over.

It sounds like this album was probably a blast to play and record and I'm sure the party was memorable, but it's just not coming through the speakers into my ears.

I listened to Funeral several more times for this matchup and I have to say, I'm not as into it right now as I was last time I judged it (against The Velvet Underground and Nico), but it's still a really tight album with no crap songs on it that I want to listen to often and Exile on Main Street is something I'd pick up on vinyl for $2 for variety and because it's got a cool cover, but not really play that much.

Arcade Fire Funeral wins.


  1. While I do enjoy Funeral and think it still sounds fresh...how can you take down both velvet underground and exile? It's good, but not that good. I think the moderator may have to take back giving you this matchup...are you with me, Andrew?

  2. I thought about that myself - is this album really better than two of the most-celebrated albums in the history of Rock 'n' Roll? Maybe not, but I definitely like it better. I've never been all that into the Velvet Underground, but I really like other Stones albums (Sticky Fingers, for example, which I chose over Revolver). I asked for this matchup because it seemed like the fairest one (the other two had albums I chose) and I was looking forward to listening to Exile on Main Street.

  3. i get your feelings about EOMS, bruce...it's too long and i can't find enough to focus on for me to like this in the traditional manner...to me it really is a background-music-while-whiskey-sipping-fag-smoking-in-the-basement-kinda album...also, in regards to it's perceived greatness, the stones are masters of PR...don't you think this album could be a bit overhyped...

    i basically like funeral, but too often i find myself thinking that they sound like "rusted root" mixed with "the talking heads"...i don't know if that's really true, but that's what i think...

  4. I was all for EOMS taking this whole thing to the Death Match bank...Oh, phooey.