Thursday, September 28, 2006

Just About A Moonlight Mile

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Sometimes, I hear certain songs, and I become obsessed with them; obsessed to the point that I must listen to them over and over and over and over again until I've heard the song to death. Then I must hear it again. Heather gets like this with certain TV shows. I do it with songs.

So earlier this year, while watching the disappointing season finale of "The Sopranos," I found my new obsession: "Moonlight Mile" by the Rolling Stones. The only part of the finale that really worked for me were the two scenes that used the open and close of "Moonlight" to bookend the episode. Other than that, I don't think anything happened in that show.
"Moonlight Mile" was a song that had mildly obsessed me before, but it was more of a flirtation than full-on-creepy-stalker obsession. But after seeing it on "The Sopranos," I became focused on it.

"Moonlight Mile" is the final song of "Sticky Fingers," which is pretty damn close to a perfect albums; from the first chords of "Brown Sugar" to the final guitar strains of "Moonlight Mile," the album never stops. (If you've never heard the album as a whole, I suggest you stop reading, go buy it, listen to it a million times, become a huge fan, then come back and read this)

I began to listen to "Moonlight" non-stop: in my car, apartment, at home, walking around. I even used my ancient cable box with "InDemand" to re-watch "The Sopranos" scenes with the song in it.

Then I focused on the lyrics and found the following:

1. In the song, Mick sings about his "head full of snow." Between this and the "Brown Sugar," I'm guessing Mick and Keith might have been using some drugs. Might. Please note my sarcasm.

2. "Moonlight Mile" is their "road song" - touring is endless, I miss you, I'm lonely, etc. We can all relate - business trips and location shoots can be a bitch and there's too many mad mad days on the road.

I researched further and learned the following tidbits from allmusic.com:

1. Keith wrote the initial guitar part, and it was known as "Japanese Thing." But, it sat incomplete until Mick Taylor turned it into this song. This just adds to my belief that Mick Taylor deserves more recognition for his time with the Stones.

2. The song was recorded without Keith.

3. It's Mick Jagger playing the acoustic guitar throughout.


So, why do I bring this up months after "The Sopranos" ended and the song once again becomes a semi-forgotten gem for the rest of the world? Well, as I was driving home on Tuesday night, I turned on my Sirius and caught the second half of "Moonlight Mile" - the dramatic build to the end with strings crescendoing, Mick singing about riding down the Moonlight Mile, and Charlie Watts pounding the shit out of the drums.

It reminded me of "The Sopranos" ending - how it felt like it was the ending of something big - a comedown from a high - much as it is on "Sticky Fingers," which is why it's such a great album ender. As I was driving and listening to it, I thought about how I was 29 and turning 30 the next day. I don't think of my 30th birthday as much of a change, but, symbolically, I thought to myself, this is a good way to end my twenties, feeling like the music was telling me it was the end of something big. And so went my twenties, riding down the "Moonlight Mile."

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