Monday, August 5, 2013

Song Meaning: Rocks Off by The Rolling Stones

ARTIST: the rolling stones | ALBUM: exile on main st. | RELEASED: 1972
Song Meaning: Rocks Off by The Rolling Stones
"Rocks Off" was released as a single
only in Japan, thus the Japanese letters on the cover
Another great rock song by arguably the greatest rock n' roll band ever, "Rock Off" describes a day in the life of the bandmates. The song touches on all aspects of rock n' roll lifestyle: sex, drugs and rock n' roll music.

The album, Exile on Main St., was released after the psychedelic revolution of the late 1960s, which only lasted for two years beginning with the Summer of Love and ending Woodstock festival. Abrupt halt of thereof was mainly due to breakup of some key bands, like the Beatles, and passing of key figures like Jimi Hendrix. The Rolling Stones, whom also contributed the movement, determined to revive the dying culture and pushed on with their music. This is evident in many songs on Exile on Main St.; In fact, the latter part of "Rocks Off" references to this-- which I'll get to in the analysis section.

Music video was made by a fan of The Rolling Stones. 
Video highlights keys lyrical meanings of the song fairly well.

"Rocks Off" was released as a single only in Japan. I can't understand why The Stones didn't make it an international single, because the song was well received by critics, even some calling it a "masterpiece."

Analysis of lyrics: 

I hear you talking when I'm on the street3 - The Stones were very popular back in the day, and they still are after fifty years later. So whenever they go out, everybody notices them.

Your mouth don't move but I can hear you speak4 - Mick Jagger is saying he can read others mind.

Lines #5 to #8 - these are the things Jagger is thinking as what others are thinking of him when he's walking around on the street.

I want to shout, but I can't hardly speak11 - Jagger has lost his voice, as many other frontmen, due to excessive singing at the previous concert.

I was making love last night12 - as I mentioned above, this songs touches all aspects of rock n' roll. This lines means Jagger was having sex with a groupie/stripper.

Lines #13 to #15 - So he was having sex with more of an actual dancer rather than a groupie. "Pirouettes" is a dancing technique, check out this video to learn more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATu8QKPBzFU

And I only get my rocks off while I'm dreaming17,18 - Mick Jagger, and other bandmates, always wear their rock n' roll hat as long as they consciously breath, that is, all the time they either do drugs, have sex, or sing/write rock songs.

Plug in, flush out and fire the fuckin' feed21 - "plug in" obviously means heroin. Pulp Fiction has a good heroin scene if you want to learn more on this substance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPd4ZpzIFtk

I can't even feel the pain no more25 - after taking heroin, it puts in such good mood that you can't even feel the pain.

Lines #32 and #33 - according to Wikipedia, this is the psychedelic part of the song, and I agree with them on this. These two lines mark the point where the song breaks off of the main riff into more of a deep,hallow sound. Purpose of psychedelic music is to force the listener to pay attention to the song, and sudden change in riff achieves this.



  1. Oh yeah

  2. I hear you talking when I'm on the street
  3. Your mouth don't move but I can hear you speak
  4. What's the matter with the boy?
  5. He don't come around no more
  6. Is he checking out for sure?
  7. Is he gonna close the door on me?

  8. I'm always hearing voices on the street
  9. I want to shout, but I can't hardly speak
  10. I was making love last night
  11. To a dancer friend of mine
  12. I can't seem to stay in step
  13. 'Cause she come ev'ry time that she pirouettes over me

  14. And I only get my rocks off while I'm dreaming
  15. I only get my rocks off while I'm sleeping

  16. I'm zipping through the days at lightning speed
  17. Plug in, flush out and fire the fuckin' feed
  18. Heading for the overload
  19. Splattered on the dirty road
  20. Kick me like you've kicked before
  21. I can't even feel the pain no more

  22. But I only get my rocks off while I'm dreaming
  23. (only get them off)
  24. I only get my rocks off while I'm sleeping
  25. (only get them off)

  26. I feel so hypnotized, can't describe the scene
  27. Its all mesmerized all that inside me
  28. The sunshine bores the daylights out of me
  29. Chasing shadows moonlight mystery
  30. Headed for the overload
  31. Splattered on the dirty road
  32. Kick me like you've kicked before
  33. I can't even feel the pain no more

  34. But I only get my rocks off while I'm dreaming
  35. (only get them off, get them off)
  36. I only get my rocks off while I'm sleeping
  37. (only get them off, get them off)

Lyrics from: http://www.elyrics.net/read/r/rolling-stones-lyrics/rocks-off-lyrics.html

1 comment:

  1. 15. "She comes every time she pirouettes over me" you pinhead

    ReplyDelete

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