Review by AVA LIVERSIDGE
In 1973, at the height of their established Rock N’ Roll royalty, The Rolling Stones released Goats Head Soup, an album leaving no territory uncharted. The album made expansive contributions to soul, blues, and rock music mutating rapidly from the silky ballad of “Angie” to instant classics like “100 Years Ago,” solidifying the Stones’ place in rock music for the fresh decade.
Now, almost fifty years later, in the middle of a pandemic and complete political turmoil, the Stones seize the moment to release a new version of their Goats Head Soup masterpiece, perhaps as an ode to simpler times. While the complete work currently remains unpublished, the deluxe album boasts singles including previously-unheard “Criss Cross” and, most-excitedly, “Scarlet” featuring none other than Jimmy Page.
In a recent Instagram video, Page, Richards, and Jagger all recounted the studio sessions in which the solo parts and demos for “Scarlet” were laid down. Here, Richards introspects: “I’ve been blessed that way, man. The people I’ve played with. I mean, I cannot express my joy.” Any music lover is well-acquainted with the hallowed words of their favorite musicians expressing the importance and innovation of collaboration, but “Scarlet” was never meant to be a great ode to the teamwork of the greatest “Rock gods” of all time. “Scarlet” was simply a test-run. As an experiment to test Page and Richards’ professional compatibility, the track was not released nor recognized for the brilliance of its demi-God lineup for nearly half a century.
The lyrical substance of “Scarlet” isn’t anything ground-breaking for the Stones per se. The premeditated, bluesy story of a pining yet mysterious woman set to break the heart of an innocent, but enraptured man is a familiar one. Its infamous tale of complicated romance isn’t what makes “Scarlet” a piece of rock history. Neither is the way Page flies smoothly over his strings working tactfully around Richards driving notes and melody; a sound and technique reminiscent of the musical glory days.
At the intersection of rock, glory, and prestige rests Led Zeppelin and The Stones, and those pieces together are a much-needed indulgence away from the saccharine and artificial music we’re surrounded by today.
When discussing the release of Goats Head Soup Deluxe, Jagger expressed the importance of releasing these unheard songs now more than ever. He did not go on to explain this, but the sincere importance for familiarity in times that are anything but is steadfast and perhaps this brief reawakening of the musical geniuses we all know and love acts as a simple reminder that some things do remain the same. Some things are forever.
The Rolling Stones – Scarlet (feat. Jimmy Page)