So I believed the hype, or was at least curious enough to check it out for myself. I bought the mid-priced version of the remastered Exile On Main Street, the one with the second disc of "unreleased outtakes", because it happens to be one of the most kickass/murky/richly atmospheric rock & roll albums ever made, as well as the last time the Rolling Stones put out something that was more about depth than gesture. I figured that there was a chance that there might be some more goodies in that well.
Reality: some decent groove-oriented tracks, some blah early versions of songs that were much better after they were finished, and several Frankenstein monsters where Jagger takes an old backing track, writes lyrics, overdubs vocals, and mixes said vocals ridiculously loud just to please his own ego. (When you have the kind of voice that sounds best when it's buried underneath a pile of loud guitars, that's hardly an effective strategy or a good listening experience.)
I see a clear agenda coming from rock's most famous London School Of Economics graduate: after decades of mediocrity, people may still love to go to Rolling Stones shows, but nobody cares about new Rolling Stones albums. However, if you shove some new songs onto a deluxe edition of one of your old, beloved classics, you might get more of a reception just because of the context. And some of the new/old songs aren't half bad, but they simply don't belong on the same street as Exile.
Which is a rather roundabout way of introducing another really cool video we shot a while back:
Here's my idea of what a good Exile On Main Street outtake would sound like. Rob K, Mark Abramson, Mary Kelley, and Debbie Hopkins serve up the most sensuously dirty, swampy, sexy midtempo groove imaginable while Rob delivers another hilarious, mystical, profane tall tale. The spirit of Keith is all over this one in the best possible way.