Sound — 10
"Let It Bleed" by the Rolling Stones is one of the greatest albums in rock, and one of the greatest sounding. If you're looking for happy-colorful '60s music, this might not be for you. This album is basically about the bad hangover from that decade. The first song, "Gimme Shelter" is sung as if it was announcing the Apocolypse. Mary Clayton's vocals get so high and gut-wrenching, that her voice cracks. It's real good and dark. After the first song, there are several songs that are sad (the quiet "Love In Vain," the uplifting epic "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the boogie woogie feel of "Let It Bleed" and the downright scary "Midnight Rambler." Each song has a different sound to them, which is great. "Monkey Man" has vibes, "You Can't Always Get..." has a french horn, "Country Honk" has a fiddle, a harmonica in "Midnight Rambler" and autoharps and various other instruments are used over the course of the album. As usual, Mick Jagger's vocals are always a plus, and even Keith Richards has a lead vocal in "You Got the Silver."
Lyrics — 10
Some of the Stones best lyrics are on this album. "Gimme Shelter" and "Midnight Rambler" can make children cry the lyrics are so scary and prophetic. "Call me hit-and-run-rapist, in anger!" How great is that? That's from the seven-minute "Midnight Rambler." And there's more. The Stones also cover blues master Robert Johnson's mournful "Love In Vain." Seriously, that song can make anyone cry. "Country Honk" is a bit of a parody of their mega-hit "Honky Tonk Women" but it still holds up with it's creativity. The rest of the songs are great, too, lyrically. "Monkey Man" is well written also.
Overall Impression — 10
This has been widely regarded as being the Stones' best album, despite the inenr turmoil with the departure and death of guitarist Brian Jones, and the continuing dependence of rock and roll excesses such as drugs. This album not defined rock, but it defined a generation. This album, released in 1969, was the much needed wake up call from the Summer of Love. Every song is a classic, and the album would bridge the gap between the '60s to the '70s. It was the perfect album for the perfect time. Jones would die, as well as several other musicians in the next two years, not to mention the infamous Altamount incident. This is their greatest album. Buy it!