This is the first Rolling Stones album with 100 percent original material. They'd hinted at it a few times on their previous two albums, but this is where they truly started to make significant strides into Art Rock, a pivotal step in the band's evolution.
Brian Jones is usually considered the principal force behind that development, but actual credit for the album's songwriting belongs exclusively to the Glimmer Twins.
The first thing that must be mentioned about Aftermath
is that it opens with “Paint it Black”, the greatest song ever (well it seems like the greatest song ever when I'm listening to it). It could've been a fairly standard heavy rock'n'roll number, but Jones had spent some time hanging out with George Harrison, and anyone who spends time with Harrison seems to come back knowing about the magic and wonderment of the sitar.
The sitar is to “Paint it Black” little more than window dressing, but it still lends the song a very distinct flavor - such that what might've been a slightly bland song became exotic and unforgettable, and the instrument seemed more naturally interwoven into the song than even on “Norwegian Wood”. You've also got to appreciate Charlie Watts' incredible drumming, as though he were creating thunder, and those incessant clicking noises throughout. Everything about that song is brilliant it seems.
“Under My Thumb” would also have been a conventional song, but for Jones having the idea of using a marimba. I suppose guitar purists might've been upset that Richards didn't play that riff on his guitar, but I do love hearing this exciting new texture - it turned a catchy song into something even more memorable.
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews