Monday, October 03, 2005

"Sympathy for the Devil"

A while ago I blogged the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and likened it to a force of nature, a fire that consumed the old order and ushered in something new and dangerous. This could well be part of the same process.
There's no subtlety here: Jagger-as-Satan assumes responsibility for the critical moments in human history, from the crucifixion right through to the assassination of John F Kennedy, with a long-suppressed sense of pride, as if the time has come for him to be acclaimed, accepted and even thanked.
The music is suitably diabolical too: what seems to start as a call from the depths of the jungle, a witch-doctor's lunatic chant gives way to an irresistible tribal dance, as if all civilisation has broken down and mankind is forced back to his basest instincts, bodies leaping around a fire built of old bones and old rules: "I stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change/Killed the Tzar and his ministers, Anastasia screamed in vain/I rode a tank, held a general's rank when the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank/I watched with glee while your kings and queens fought for 10 decades for the gods they made/I shouted out "Who killed the Kennedys?" when after all it was you and me."
If I had to pick another song that came close to the feeling, the emotion that this song extracts, it would be Primal Scream's "Moving on Up". Liberation, anarchy, fear, power, it's all here. Possibly Jagger and Richards' finest moment.

1 comment:

Cocaine Jesus said...

I agree. Their finest hour.