The Rolling Stones

Let It Loose

Song Review by

First released on what is widely considered the Rolling Stones' seminal album, Exile on Main Street (1972), "Let It Loose" represents Jagger/Richardssongwriting at its best: an undeniable guitar lick that leads the band; a soulful back beat; and passionate, personal lyrics. "Let It Loose" seems to be a dialogue between friends, one warning the other about some new woman the other is seen with: "...and I'm hip to what she'll do/Give her just about a month or two." The voice seems to change to the other friend with "she delivered right on time/I can't resist a corny line...." What makes this gospel-infused ballad -- somewhat buried in the middle of the sprawling double album -- stand out from much of the material is the depth of personality Mick Jagger's lyrics possess; he seems to be singing from experience about admitted personal weakness. This is one of the few such cases on a record that is otherwise concerned with documenting the band's love of American culture -- from the title and cover artwork supplied, in part, from Robert Franks' The Americans, down to individual songs like "Sweet Virginia," "Tumbling Dice," and "All Down the Line." For much of Exile on Main Street, Jagger is heard posing variously as a bluesman, country and western hick, and Southern folksinger. On "Let It Loose," however, the mask seems stripped away in one of those rare exposures to the real Mick Jagger. There are few recorded covers, with the exception of the noted students of the Stones, Pussy Galore. The song remains very much Jagger's. The music is built around a guitar riff that swirls through a Leslie organ speaker. Horns and back-up singers play a prominent role in making the song feel authentic. Like much of Exile on Main Street, it sounds soulful, swampy, and ageless. "Let It Loose" and the collection as a whole seemed to be adhere to Graham Parson's concept of a "cosmic American" music; a hybrid of country, soul, rock & roll, and blues. Exile on Main Street also seems to share the Band's reverence for American roots music. "Let It Loose" adds the Rolling Stones' personality to the tradition.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Exile on Main St. 1972 Virgin 5:18
LP Sleeve Box Set 2005 Toshiba EMI
The Departed [Original Soundtrack] 2006
Original Soundtrack
Warner Bros. / Warner Sunset 5:18