1. Exile On Main Street (1972)
It makes all the sense in the world that critics like Lester Bangs first recoiled from Exile On Main Street before embracing it as perhaps the finest rock album ever made. Exile is so dense and purposeful that it can be off-putting on initial listens. The cruel truths of “Ventilator Blues” don’t always rest easily amidst the ecstatic epiphanies of “Happy” and “All Down The Line.” The near gospel assertions of “Shine A Light” and “Let It Loose” are crushingly moving in their inherent suggestion that there might actually be a drab afterlife to follow the monotonous lives we lead. In that regard, Exile asks all the right questions, some painful, some futile, some ecstatic. Perhaps Jagger sums up the whole human comedy on the opening track “Rocks Off,” when he sings: “Kick me like you kicked before/ I can’t even feel the pain no more.” Regardless, may the good Lord shine a light on all of us.