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Their Satanic Majesties Request

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This record has always been my favourite Rolling Stones album. No matter what the critics and the “fans” said, I’ve always been fascinated by everything on this album. A particular thing I really like is the experimental ambiance it exudes. However, my favourite things about the album are the contributions made by my favourite Stone, Brian Jones. He plays all sorts of instruments on this record like the mellotron, which is an extremely difficult instrument to play, and several other exotic instruments. Almost every song features the mellotron which basically provides the back-bone for every track. This can be best seen on 2000 Light Years from Home which is probably the best song on the album.

I’ve always thought that The Beatles stuck to the more sugar-coated, Pop aspects of Psychedelia while the Stones’ focused more on the darker and more mystical side of it; “Miserable Psychedelia” as Mick Jagger called it. If you’ve ever listened to this record, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Songs like Citadel, The Lantern, 2000 Light Years from Home and On with the Show are great examples.


I have added a short song-by-song review of the album if anyone here has never heard it and is interested. It was written rather quickly and is definitely not some of my best writing but I think it should suffice.

So, does anyone else here enjoy this album as much as I do? Or more importantly, has anyone here even listened to this albun before?

>Sing This All Together

Starts off with a simple piano melody backed by some brass, and eventually the vocals come in; chanting “Why don’t we sing this song all together?” John Lennon and Paul McCartney are performing backing vocals along with the Stones. This song is very catchy, and you’ll probably sing along, too. It features some foreign instruments and has a lot of percussion, courtesy of Mr. Brian Jones. Pretty good song, but nothing groundbreaking-ly spectacular.



This song begins with an instantly-memorable riff and eventually escalates to a great psychedelic song. The lyrics are very descriptive and are most likely inspired by J.R.R. Tolkein. It’s a lot more guitar driven than any other song on the album.. The vocal melody is also hypnotic and the chord progression is pure, simple genius which gets stuck in your head immediately upon hearing it; it has a few false endings which IMO gives the song several climaxes. The song fades away with the chord progression and the riff playing. When I first listened to this record, this was my favourite song, and although it isn’t currently, it’s still a kick-ass tune!!


>In Another Land

Written by Bill Wyman [then-bassist for the Stones] and features him singing lead vocals. He’s applied some cool effect to his voice, so it sounds somewhat early Pink Floyd-esque, but not completely. It could’ve easily fit in on “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” Bill seems to be describing a dream with his love interest.

In another land where the breeze and the Trees and flowers glow blue

I stood and held your hand.

And the grass grew high and the feathers floated by

I stood and held your hand. And nobody else's hand will ever do

Then in the chorus, he appears to wake up and feels disappointed. The chorus is very exciting [And I awoke, was this some kind of a joke? Much to my surprise, I opened my eyes!].

It’s got some awesome harpsichord playing and accompanying piano throughout the track that gives it a strange ambiance. The acoustic guitar also goes very well with the complementary instruments, helping it build a psychedelic environment. In my opinion, the highlight of the song is probably the rich and colorful lyrics written by Bill; it just makes the song.

Great instrumentation, great vocals and overall it’s another highlight of the record. It ends with the snores of Mr. Wyman which were, unbeknownst to him, added in at the last minute by Mick and Keith as a joke.

>2000 Man

This song starts off with a nice little guitar intro, then the drums join in and Mick eventually starts singing. He describes, “Well my name is a number”. Somehow, Mr. Jagger guessed that by the new millennium we would be addicted to our computers as he sings; “I am having an affair

with a random computer”. The chorus, like all the previous ones, is also very memorable “Oh mummy proud of your sun, oh daddy proud of your planet!” It gives the song somewhat of a Poppish-feel. It’s a pretty funny song if you consider how true some of it is. Another great song.


>Sing This All Together (See What Happens)

An eerie experimental song full of strange and exotic instruments that echoes the album opener. This song is arguably the Stones’s most experimental track, some even call it avant-garde. It still features some of the brass sections and melodies from the first track which keeps things interesting as you wait for the melodies to reach the great refrain. This track has Brian Jones playing all sorts of percussion instruments which helps it maintain the eerie atmosphere. Also, Jagger’s yells, grunts, and sighs can be heard throughout most of the composition. Eventually, at the end of the song Jagger starts singing the chorus “Why don’t we sing this song all together?” Then, the song ends with strange and creepy effects, thus ending the experimentation…for now.


>She’s a Rainbow

This song has somewhat of a “Beatle-esque” feel. It has a very melodious piano playing throughout most of the song which serves as the backbone of the composition. Also, the piano solo is one of the many highlights of the entire album. This song also features very fitting orchestral arrangement which accompanies the piano throughout the song. Mick is singing here about a woman who “comes in colours everywhere!” and how “she’s like a rainbow”. This song also has backing vocal harmonies [“Oh lalalala”] which further reinforce its popish atmosphere. Clearly a highlight of the album, and a song which you simply cannot hate. A great accomplishment from the Stones once again


>The Lantern

The Lantern kicks off with the peculiar tolling of a bell before Brian Jones begins playing the organ. This song is very different from probably anything the Stones have ever done before. It also features Nick Hopkins on piano. The chorus is quite catchy “Please….Carry the Lantern High” or “Please….Carry the Lantern Lights”, ‘tis can be quite hypnotic ;). Also, a very memorable riff follows the chorus which makes the song sound a lot more natural. The lyrics are somewhat puzzling and I still don’t know what the song can be about exactly… However, I must say that the Piano & Organ combination works BRILLIANTLY! Well done, boys.



This composition is basically divided into two parts. One features Mick singing about the girl who is “By the lake with lily flowers” and how this girl “moans with her sigh”. Quite intriguing :P Then, the latter half features Brian playing loads of exotic and strange instruments like electric dulcimers, tablas and many more that I can’t even distinguish! It also contains some interesting rhythmic patterns. Overall, it’s a very entertaining track and I really enjoy the artistry behind it. Although this is probably not what many Stones fans expect when they buy a Rolling Stone album, I still think it’s awesome.


>2000 Light Years From Home

This is definitely my favourite song on the entire album. It has a very evil, horror-movie style kinda introduction and then Mr. Brian Jones joins in with his mellotron. Eventually Mick begins singing about a space-journey. “We’re setting off with soft explosion” and how they’re bound for “a star with fiery oceans”. Space exploration was pretty big in the late 60s, so I suppose that’s where the inspiration from this song came from. This song probably features the best Mellotron playing by ANY human. I mean, it’s just mind-boggling. Anyways, this song is probably the closest thing to Space Rock the Stones have ever done. It’s full of strange psychedelic effects that essentially make it feel as if you were on an acid-trip. It also features a great refrain/chorus “It’s so very lonely, you’re two thousand lights years from hooome”, which goes perfect with the way Mick is singing (basically melodically whispering XD).FYI, Mick wrote this while in a jail-cell as a result of a drug-related arrest.


>On With the Show

This piece starts off with some dialogue which I can’t really understand…Then, Mick Jagger begins singing in a strange, nasally voice, but it seems like it fits the song and its pretty fun to sing along to. The vocal melody is also priceless, but at the same time very simple. Then, keeping with the basic theme of the album, the rest of the band members (particularly Brian Jones) are experimenting with different instruments. This track also features Jones on mellotron providing very soothing melodies throughout the entire song. The chorus is also pretty memorable, “On with the show, good health to you!” What I like most of this track is probably Jaggers singing. It just totally fits in with the whole ambience of the track, especially in the 3rd verse.


Final Thoughts: A severely under-rated record filled with artistry, experimentation, and, hypnotizing melodies accompanied by gripping rhythmic patterns, that were simply just not appreciated at the time of its release.

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No, thanks.

It's not my taste. I like She's A Rainbow (but they even managed to ruin this one for me with the ending) and I like that transition they made from 2000 LY from Home to Sympathy during the Steel Wheels tour. That's just about all.

Maybe I should try it again some time, I might get into one or two of the tracks, but I doubt it.

Oh, and I give it two more posts at most before some someone calls it "a poor man's Sgt Pepper's".

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That "dark alternative to Sgt Pepper" party line don't wash with me. Its the thing people frequently refer to in an attempt to excuse the stones shortcomings, particularly in regards to this album. In all interviews and writings about this albums the stones themselves visibly begin to squirm when talking about it. Now if you're a big enough fan of a band on a long enough timescale with enough listens you can see your way clear to talking away any paltry piece of shit and i think that, although not an entirely fair and accurate analysis of this album, is something close to what stones fans do with this.

People emphasize copying, originality, influence, movements, fads, trends and the likes far too much. Isn't it better to just enjoy songs for what they are instead of trying so hard to theorize bigger contexts that ultimately don't mean anything when seeing in what the song reaches the listener?

Good point although i think those things are an attempt to contextualise the reasons why a lot of people don't/didn't respond to the album.

Edited by dirtylenny
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Off by one post.

People emphasize copying, originality, influence, movements, fads, trends and the likes far too much. Isn't it better to just enjoy songs for what they are instead of trying so hard to theorize bigger contexts that ultimately don't mean anything when seeing in what the song reaches the listener? It's entertainment, not geopolitics.

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Off by one post.

People emphasize copying, originality, influence, movements, fads, trends and the likes far too much. Isn't it better to just enjoy songs for what they are instead of trying so hard to theorize bigger contexts that ultimately don't mean anything when seeing in what the song reaches the listener? It's entertainment, not geopolitics.


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