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Reviews: The Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request

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Reviews: 4

Review by swanlee May 16, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
This was considered the Stones SGt.Peppers rip-off album and it's pretty easy to tell why, just look at the cover. But it's still a pretty good album flows very well from start to finish and is worth picking up.

Sonics are great as the effects used jump right out at you, the mix and mastering are well done very natural recording. Worth buying if you like pysch.

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Review by JW September 30, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Please do not take any notice of the tune 'Sing This All Together', because these two iterations are abominable. Satanic Majesty is a socalled psychedelic album. I remember buying this for the cover art, but have grown to appreciate it over time more and more. This is really interesting music and with 21st century ears not as revolutionary nor psychedelic as its reputation. Therefore perhaps people can be more appreciative of the inventive music where african rhytmns are interspersed with full orchestration, nice harmonies (She's A Rainbow) and plain old rock.

When they first came out I bought 10 of the ABKCO discs but I never got around to write something about them. I'll try and rate them sonically and in comparison to each other. This is early Stones and therefore it bears the hallmark of the times in the way they sound in the studio (or live) and by the nature of the songs. Bluesy, Beatle-like but infused with real rock and attitude initially, to more and more of their signature sound as they progress over the years and hone their craft. Overall these ABCKO series are a tremendous achievement, but they cannot touch many of the modern DSD recorded SACD's or even the sound quality of Living Stereo SACD's or some of the Japanese Miles Davis titles. 'Let it Bleed' and 'Beggars Banguet' come closest. So do you rate them in comparison to other SACD's regardless of age, or do you rate them on their own merits. I guess I have done a little bit of both. There are many more angles with which to review these titles, I fully realise that. I chose this one for these pages.

So here is my list ranked by audio quality: (P=Performance. S=Sonics)
1) Let It Bleed (P5,S4)
2) Beggars Banguet (P5,S4)
3) 12x5 (P3,S3)
4) Out of Our Heads (P3,S3)
4) Aftermath (P4,S3)
5) Between the Buttons (P5,S2)
5) December's Children (P5,S2)
5) Their Satanic Majesties Request (P4,S2-S3)
6) Get Yer Ya-Ya's out (P5,S1)

I also bought Hot Rocks, but that is a compilation which reflects the variety of recordings it was based on, so did not feature it here.

Some listening notes to back this up:
1) One of the most modern sounding recordings of the lot. This one does not have the 'we are playing in an empty oil drum' sound from say a 'Buttons..'. In addition to its desert island disc musical quality, the sound is pretty amazing. Of the you-are-there variety.
2) Close second. Somewhat lower recording level than some of the others. Remarkably wide soundstage on the opening numbers. Sounds come from outside the speakers. None of the others display this.
3) Nice center image with clear left/right seperation. This is one bluesy album.
4) Both display pinched and somewhat hard treble.
5) All of these have this 'barrel' sound. It's not so bad, but it sounds really dated. On DC the live track "Route 66' sounds pretty bad, worse even than the fantastic live album that is Ya-Ya's.
6) Great music, great atmosphere, bluesy rock, nice weight to the bass, but there is a huge blanket smothering the sound.

Hopefully we can look forward to more Stones. I would like to complete this collection with their later works.

Jw

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Review by RNelson July 8, 2006 (1 of 7 found this review helpful)
I purchased this supposed SACD through alink at this site. It does not say anything about it being an SACD. It says it was remasered using DSD technology. When I put it in my player, which is a hybrid player that plays all formats it does not play as an SACD. Is this even available in SACD format? Could someone please let me know if their copy says SACD anywhere. I have many SACD discs and this does not appear to be one.

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Review by cerebus October 7, 2006 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I've always enjoyed this album, and played it to death decades ago, so I'm pretty familiar with how it's sounded in the past.

That said, if you've never liked this Stones album, you probably won't like this release of it, but if you're in on the joke and appreciate it for what it is, pick it up immediately.

The sonics are vastly improved, even though it's a two-channel release, I had to check to make sure there wasn't a center channel active. The soundstage is very wide and well-defined. This is a very "of it's time" release, so there are a lot of effects and eclectic instruments buried in the mix. Bells, whistles, horns, drums, and vocals that I was never aware of before are clear and distinct, and the guitars and keyboards have a clearness and presence they've never had before.

Performance: 4.5, certainly not a must-have Stones album, but it's very much reflects the state of pop music in 1967.

Sonics: 4, This is the one Stones release that really would have benefited from a five-channel mix.

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