Monday, December 3, 2012


Although it was not among the Rolling Stones tracks selected for discussion in honor of their 50th anniversary by any of the band members on NPR's All Things Considered, nor one of the 14 Rolling Stones songs to make Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time", I consider "Angie" to be my personal favorite Rolling Stones song. In fact, it possibly even ranks among my top four favorite songs of all time.

Mick Jagger's face is incredibly creepy and distracting in this official music video, though, so perhaps just avert your eyes as you listen:

They also filmed an alternate video, but he's 100 times worse in that one. Before these high-quality videos were uploaded to the band's official YouTube channel just a few months ago, the preferred "Angie" video on YouTube was this from user EagleMDare, featuring nothing but the album version of the song playing over the unrelated still image of a random gorgeous woman. And the image periodically dissolves to a mirrored version of itself. Ah, YouTube. But I digress.

The one thing that always used to bug me about "Angie" was that I felt the song should have ended on the penultimate lyric "Angie, Angie, ain't it good to be alive?" Or perhaps the line should have switched places at the end of the song with the actual final lyric "Angie, Angie, they can't say we never tried." It's a melancholy song either way, but I felt that "ain't it good to be alive?" would have ended it on a more consoling note, with a perspective toward the future and possibility, whereas I felt "they can't say we never tried," echoing a line from earlier in the song, brought the perspective back again toward the past and regret.

Just the other day, however, as I was in my car listening to the Pink song "Try," I thought of "Angie," and I had a change of heart over that last lyric. And, yes, I realize it's probably sacrilege to be interpreting the Stones through Pink, but I'm only saying that the one song happened to make me think of the other, as happens all the time. Anyway, as I thought over "Angie," I concluded that, after all, this has never been a feel-good song. It has neither aspiration nor obligation to provide hopefulness or a happy ending, and perhaps ending on "they can't say we never tried" is more artistically honest. Hard to say, though, since Mick Jagger, who sings it with such passion--and I can't imagine anyone else ever pulling this song off--isn't traditionally believed to have written the damn thing!

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