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Rolling Stones Album Guide: The Good, the Great and the ‘Angie’

A bluffer’s guide to the world’s greatest rock & roll Band

Rolling Stones;

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There are roughly a million Rolling Stones albums, and almost all of them have songs that will drastically improve your life. (Some of them also have “Angie.”) Where to start? Where to go after the classics? Here’s a road map of the good, the great and the “Angie.”

By Rob Sheffield

Emotional Rescue

‘Emotional Rescue’ (1980)

The guys needed a follow-up to Some Girls, so they churned out the most outrageously frivolous album of their career. Proof that nobody does quickies like these guys.

Key Track: "Emotional Rescue," a disco goof that fluked into a Top 10 hit.

Best Mick Moment: "Let Me Go," a tale of New York bed-hopping mania in the 1970s.

 

 

 

Undercover

‘Undercover’ (1983)

The Stones obviously sat around the hotel watching MTV, saw all those New Wave- haircut bands and scoffed, "Bloody hell, we can do that."

Key Track: "Undercover of the Night" mixes up the Clash, Grandmaster Flash and Duran Duran into a rant about U.S. imperialism.

Combat Rock: In the "Undercover" video, Keith is a guerrilla who pulls a gun on Mick, a fantasy he must have secretly savored for years.

 

 

Dirty Work

‘Dirty Work’ (1985)

The guys rip one another apart, but that just makes it a perfect expression of the Stones' dysfunctional love/hate bond.

Key Track: "Dirty Work," where Mick rages against an unnamed nemesis. Maybe his guitarist? Maybe himself?

Neon Warriors: The cover has to be the most absurd Stones photo ever taken. But leave it to the Stones to make Miami Vice threads almost look cool.

 

 

A bigger bang

‘A Bigger Bang’ (2005)

The Stones took their time with this one, as if they had something to prove. Their toughest album in a long time.

Key Track: "Sweet Neo Con," where Mick rips Republicans a new one.

Best Keith Moment: "Infamy." If he ever decides he wants to start doing LPs of cocktail ballads, he could give Rod Stewart a run for his money.

Fresh Ones: The guys wanted new songs to play live, even if fans didn't. "They say, 'I much prefer to hear 'Brown Sugar,' " Mick said. "Well, I don't give a shit what you prefer."