By the late 1970s the musical residue of the late 1960s had become troublesome ground, given the passage of time’s ability to turn the cool into the passé as well as the rise of genres that challenged first-wave rock’s popular ascendance, some of them enduring (punk) and others (disco) not so much. To be honest, postwar rock had taken some gross turns, like prog. And the musically abetted idealism of “The Sixties” hadn’t done much in terms of, you know, preventing Nixon or a terrible recession. And a lot of great postwar bands were gone (the Beatles), close to disintegrating (Zeppelin), or on the early slopes of a long decline (the Kinks). And really, the Sixties in general *did* suck (ewww, Baby Boomers as young people are even worse than Boomers as anything else).
The Rolling Stones endured these winds with their standard vulgar genius, so different from the Beatles’ awkwardly self-conscious, cerebral magic. In 1978, as the Clash exploded toward London Calling (1979), the Stones dropped Some Girls. You’ve heard the lead song from this honky-tonk scumbag-disco masterpiece a thousand times, but I’ll bet “Miss You” still feels as urgently dirty as it did the first time you heard it bump. What’s a matter, man? We’re gonna come round at 12 with some Puerto Rican girls that’s just dyyyyyyin to meet you.
Picking the best RS albums is like picking the best Shakespeare, as in about fifty percent of the work they did in their prime could legitimately be called their “best.” On the other hand, this album clears most of the decks: Some Girls is their second-best album, after Sticky Fingers, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise, which is probably, like, eighty percent of Stones fans, given the above-noted reality of all those classics.