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Music / Aftermath

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Aftermath (UK cover).
Aftermath (US cover).

Aftermath is the fourth studio album (sixth American album) by The Rolling Stones, released in 1966. It remains a critic and fan favourite, and is usually ranked as among their best albums, along with Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St.. "Mother's Little Helper" (on the U.K. version), "Paint It Black" and "Under My Thumb" became international hits.

It is the first Stones album that was fully written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and features no covers. It is also the first Stones album which showcases Brian Jones's multi-instrumental ability. The album was listed at #109 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


Tracklist (U.K. Version):

Side One

  1. "Mother's Little Helper" (2:45)
  2. "Stupid Girl" (2:56)
  3. "Lady Jane" (3:08)
  4. "Under My Thumb" (3:41)
  5. "Doncha Bother Me" (2:41)
  6. "Goin' Home" (11:13)

Side Two

  1. "Flight 505" (3:27)
  2. "High and Dry" (3:08)
  3. "Out of Time" (5:37)
  4. "It's Not Easy" (2:56)
  5. "I Am Waiting" (3:11)
  6. "Take It or Leave It" (2:47)
  7. "Think" (3:09)
  8. "What to Do" (2:32)

Tracklist (U.S. Version):

Side One

  1. "Paint It Black" (3:22)
  2. "Stupid Girl" (2:56)
  3. "Lady Jane" (3:08)
  4. "Under My Thumb" (3:41)
  5. "Doncha Bother Me" (2:41)
  6. "Think" (3:09)

Side Two

  1. "Flight 505" (3:27)
  2. "High and Dry" (3:08)
  3. "It's Not Easy" (2:56)
  4. "I Am Waiting" (3:11)
  5. "Goin' Home" (11:13)


Principal Members:

  • Mick Jagger - lead vocals, harmonica, percussion, tambourine
  • Brian Jones - guitar, piano, organ, harpsichord, marimba, sitar, dulcimer, harmonica, koto, percussion, triangle
  • Keith Richards - guitar, vocals
  • Charlie Watts - drums, percussion, glockenspiel
  • Bill Wyman - bass, vocals, organ pedals

Mother's Little Tropers:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Stupid Girl"
    She purrs like a pussy-cat
  • Album Single: "Paint It, Black" / "Stupid Girl" and "Mother's Little Helper" / "Lady Jane".
  • Artistic License – Biology: "Doncha Bother Me"
    Well, the lines 'round my eyes are protected by a copyright law
  • Bastard Boyfriend: "Under My Thumb" is written from the perspective of one, to the point where he controls how she dresses.
  • Color Motifs: "Paint It, Black"
    I see a red door and I want it painted black
    No colors anymore, I want them to turn black

    (...) No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: As with all Stones albums pre-Their Satanic Majesties Request.
  • Death by Irony: "Flight 505", where a passenger takes a plane flight and starts a new life.
    Well, I sat right there in my seat
    Well, feeling like a king
    With the whole world right at my feet
    "Of course I'll have a drink!"
    Well, suddenly I saw that we never ever would arrive
    He put the plane down in the sea
    The end of flight number 505
  • Death Song and Downer Ending:
    • The mother in "Mother's Little Helper" overdoses on her pills and dies.
    • The aeroplane passenger in "Flight 505" is unsatisfied with his life and decides to take a new start on flight number 505. Then the plane crashes in the sea.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Mother's Little Helper'
    And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
  • Epic Rocking: The 11:13 "Goin' Home".
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • What women need to be according to the protagonist in "Under My Thumb".
    • A male example is the protagonist in "Lady Jane"
    Your servant am I
    And will humbly remain
    Just heed this plea, my love
    On bended knee, my love
    I pledge myself to Lady Jane
  • Face on the Cover: A group shot of the band.
  • Grief Song: "Paint It Black" is about a man who is grieving after the death of his loved one, and wants to paint everything black.
  • Housewife: "Mother's Little Helper" was supposed to be about the hypocrisy of older people disapproving of drug abuse amongst the young while themselves popping pills. But it's also a surprisingly insightful portrait of a housewife who's driven to drug abuse by boredom.
    "Things are different today," I hear every mother say
    Cooking fresh food for her husband's just a drag
  • Hypocrite: The narrator of "Under My Thumb" is free to look at other women, even as he expects his girlfriend to remain faithful.
  • Leave Me Alone!: "Doncha Bother Me".
    I said: "Oh no, dontcha follow me no more
    I said: "Oh no, dontcha follow me no more
    Well, I'm looking for my face
    And I got no place to go.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "Goin' Home", clocking in at over 11 minutes.
  • Manchild: "Think"
    You say I lack maturity
    But think back, back a little bit baby
    Back, back, alright!

    (...) We're not children anymore
    We don't need to play with toys
    Take a look and you will find
    You're gettin' old before your time.
  • Misogyny Song:
    • "Under My Thumb"
    It's down to me, oh that's what I said
    The way she talks when she's spoken to
    Down to me, the change has come
    She's under my thumb
    • "Out of Time"
    You're obsolete, my baby
    My poor old-fashioned baby
    I said, baby, baby, baby, you're out of time
    • "Stupid Girl"
    She bitches 'bout things that she's never seen
    Look at that stupid girl
    It doesn't matter if she dyes her hair
    Or the colour of the shoes she wears
    She's the worst thing in this world
    Well, look at that stupid girl
    • "High and Dry"
    Anything I wished for, I only had to ask her
    I think she found out it was money I was after

    (...) It's lucky that I didn't have any love towards her
    Next time I'll make sure that the girl'll be much poorer
  • New Sound Album: While the blues-based sound of their earlier work hasn't disappeared entirely, this album finds the Stones incorporating elements of folk-rock, Beatlesque pop, and even some early psychedelia.
    • Brian Jones also begins his multi-instrumental experimentation here. For instance, "Paint It Black" features him playing a sitar, a new instrument in the Stones' catalogue.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The word "Aftermath" doesn't appear in any of the lyrics.
  • One-Woman Song: "Lady Jane".
  • One-Word Title: "Aftermath" and "Think".
  • Paint It Black: Trope Namer (the actual song has nothing to do with the trope).
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Although originally titled without a comma, the release version was styled "Paint It, Black". Keith Richards has stated that the comma was added by the record label, Decca, and that the comma stirred confusion and potential controversy with some listeners: "There were some weird letters, racial letters. 'Was there a comma in the title? Was it an order to the world?'"
  • Refrain from Assuming: That characteristic sound in "Mother's Little Helper" is not a sitar, but a slide being played on an electric 12-string.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Borrowed Tune" from Neil Young's Tonight's the Night (1975) uses the same melody as "Lady Jane", which is lampshaded by him in the song:
    I'm singin' this borrowed tune
    I took from the Rolling Stones
    Alone in this empty room
    Too wasted to write my own
    • "Paint It Black" has become a Standard Snippet to play in media set during The Vietnam War. The film Full Metal Jacket and the series Tour of Duty both play the song over their end credits.
    • During the Stones' performance of "Under My Thumb" at the 1969 Altamont festival as documented in the film Gimme Shelter, a man — Meredith Hunter — was murdered on camera. It's often said that the song was "Sympathy for the Devil", but this is an Urban Legend.
  • There's No Place Like Home: "Going Home"
    When you're three thousand miles away
    I just never sleep the same
    If I packed my things right now
    I could be home in seven hours
    I'm goin' home...
  • Variant Cover: The U.S. and U.K. versions had completely different covers.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The narrator in "Paint It, Black" who lost their love and wants to "see the sun blotted out from the sky."
  • World Music: Brian Jones plays sitar during "Paint It, Black".


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