|1. If You Can't Rock Me|
|2. Ain't Too Proud To Beg|
|3. It's Only Rock 'N Roll (But I Like It)|
|4. Till The Next Goodbye|
|5. Time Waits For No One|
|7. Dance Little Sister|
|8. If You Really Want To Be My Friend|
|9. Short And Curlies|
|10. Fingerprint File|
If you're a hits - hungry Stones fan, you'll probably purchase this release for its title track. But there are a lot of other great numbers, including a scorching cover of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", the acoustic treasure "Til The Next Goodbye", and Mick Taylor's magnum opus "Time Waits For No One". The latter track features a genuine 3 - minute guitar solo played with ease and skill by Taylor. "Luxury" is a fusion of reggae, ska and rock that comes out on top as a successful foray into newly discovered regions. Similarly, "Fingerprint File" has the Stones jumping aboard the funk wagon, complete with funky bass lines and amazing keyboard work by Billy Preston.
This album is not a true masterpiece like "Sticky Fingers" or even an imitation of one like "Goat's Head Soup", but "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll" is definitely more than average Stones material and is also the last album featuring the Stones performing true Stones music before jumping aboard the bandwagon of disco, funk and reggae.
The title song is one of rock's true classics...excellent guitar playing from both Keith Richards and Mick Taylor, and a supremely catchy chorus.
"Dance Little Sister", "If You Can't Rock Me" and "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" are tough and sinewy. "Time Waits For No One" and "If Your Really Want To Be My Friend" are two great rock ballads. "Luxury" is a fine, swinging, Calypso-tinged (!) tune, and the catchy, good-natured boogie of "Short And Curlies" is great fun.
"It's Only Rock 'N Roll" is, in my never appropriately humble opinion, one of the most well-arranged Stones records...it's not overproduced, sticking to a basic, yet muscular sound with lots of great guitar playing, and Nicky Hopkins and Ian Stewart add some excellent piano parts.
Definitely one of the better Stones albums...not quite on par with "Exile" or "Sticky Fingers", but "It's Only Rock 'N Roll" is certainly worth your while.
Having said that, what remains is primo Stones indeed. The opening track, "If You Can't Rock Me" kicks things off with swagger and style. "Till The Next Goodbye" and "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" are two of their finest ballads. The title track, despite years of heavy airplay, still holds up well and remains one of the greatest descriptions of the performing life. "Luxury" is (along with "Hot Stuff") their best stab at reggae (and good to hear the full five-minute version; the original vinyl chopped off 30 seconds due to time constraints). "Dance Little Sister" is one of their nastiest, greasiest rockers and ranks with classics such as "Brown Sugar" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash". And just to prove the veteran rockers still had a few tricks up their sleeves, they proceed to invent white funk with "Fingerprint File", a full three years before the Talking Heads. While this album is not quite the masterpiece of an Exile or Beggars or Sticky Fingers it's still a worthy addition to your Stones collection. In fact, I'm playing it right now....
There are some good songs here, and even a few classics (the title track, the haunting "Time Waits for No One", and the deliciously funky "Fingerprint File") but the overall quality is somewhat off. The cover of "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" is okay, but nothing really special. "If You Can't Rock Me" and "Luxury" are both good enough songs that just don't quite seem to have enough punch, like they're being played under water (or possibly under the influence). The band is far more effective on "Dance Little Sister", which would be a real knockout if it wasn't quite so... well, dumb. "If You Really Want To Be My Friend" is the only total washout on this recording, and its position probably prompted a lot of listeners to either put on something else or fall asleep altogether, in either case missing the underrated and often-ignored standout "Fingerprint File". While some consider this song's paranoid lyrics satirical. Jagger's experiences surely give him a unique slant on what it's like to live in a fishbowl.
Fans of the older, hard-rockin' Stones can be forgiven for being lukewarm about this offering. But if you don't mind the variety (some might call it lack of focus) there's certainly enough here to warrant investigation. On the other hand, if you don't have many Stones' CD's in your collection, there are others that you'll want to get first. A rating of three and a half stars would be more accurate, but given the availability of "skip" buttons, I rounded up to reflect the high quality of the best tracks, rather than down to reflect the stuff you might not listen to anyway.