The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones (1964), 3/10

The Rolling Stones’ debut album consists of a collection of blues covers as well as three new compositions. This approach to recording mirrors their contemporaries in most ways apart from the band’s focus on a few particularly influential rhythm and blues artists, their heroes. The music itself, due to a combination of the band’s immaturity and the variously sourced material, varies wildly in quality. A song like “Walking the Dog” foreshadows later ingenuity with the fundamental building blocks of music, while “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back)” is simply atrocious on all fronts and borders on unlistenable. The album generally flirts with the space between mediocre interpretations of better artists, at this stage, and botched attempts at creating their own individual sound. Two of the better songs are placed at the front, helping lure us into the experience, before laying out a supremely disappointing remainder with some exceptions being “Carol” and the closer. While this group would produce much better projects in the future, their debut was nothing special and would blend in with the rest of the crowd if not for their different sources of inspiration. This would help them further down the line, of course, but a combination of sloppy presentation and questionable aesthetics stifle any potential impact in the music. There is little meaningful variation, creativity, or polish in execution. Ultimately this sloppy and generic debut is nothing worthy of praise and fails the test of time.