Monday, June 20, 2016

"Undercover of the Night" by The Rolling Stones

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1694
Date:  11/12/1983
Debut:  48
Peak:  9
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's previous album, 1981's Tattoo You, was their eighth studio album in a row to reach #1. Although it was mostly made up of leftover tracks from previous sessions, the LP was well-received and spawned the #2 hit "Start Me Up." Two years later, they set out to make their first album of the 80s to feature all brand new material. They would write and co-produce Undercover, but the sessions were a bit tumultuous and a rift would begin between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards that would get larger over the next few years. Jagger was sensing the changes in music and as he had done before, like on the disco-influenced "Emotional Rescue," he wanted to craft music with an eye on the times. Richards wanted to remain in the blues/rock mold that the band was known for. Neither were happy with each other, but they plowed through and finished the album. This first single was definitely a Jagger composition that Richards said "he just played on." Dressed in new 80s technology, the politically-charged song did well hitting #2 at Rock and #9 at Pop. The results were good, but not spectacular, and with the band not touring in support of the album, it broke the string of #1's and peaked at #4. It was still a platinum seller, but this was a drop after the multi-platinum Tattoo You.

ReduxReview:  I remember when I first heard this I was kinda like "whoa!" It was so dense sounding with all the echo, reverb and effects. This was not the typical Rolling Stones song. Most of their recent songs were very clean sounding. This new muddy atmosphere was certainly jarring, but I really liked it. There was a deliberate dirtiness to it that enhanced the somewhat indecipherable, political-leaning lyrics. It was messy and glorious. I wouldn't consider it a classic in their catalog, but it does remain one of my favorite guilty pleasures of theirs.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  The band also kept up with the times by starring in an elaborate music video for this song directed by Julien Temple. It featured a story line that had Jagger as a detective searching for a kidnapped girl in Brazil. Richards plays a mafioso-type boss that ends up shooting Jagger at the end. The violence prompted an edited version to be given to MTV, but even then the video would only be shown after 9 p.m.


No comments:

Post a Comment