Possibly the finest (practically) breakup song ever written. Jagger sings of his lamentably lady really like who “don’t attempt very challenging to please me.” In response to what we are lead to believe are numerous injustices, he warns, “this could be the final time.” The genius of the song lies in the word “could.” Since of that we see the singer, who could other wise be a accurate cad, for what he really is: hopeful. He sees his connection as doomed, he knows that he has been repeatedly wronged, but he nevertheless gives this song as an emotional revelation, albeit a bitter a single, that he is prepared to leave even though it is the final issue that he desires. This narrative element of the song is underpinned additional with the line “I’m sorry girl but I cannot stay/feeling like I do today.” This line functions overtime. Very first, there is the explicit apology at the start and, second, there is the delineation of timing. Jagger isn’t saying that the partnership is all bad or that there is no hope for it to be repaired, nonetheless, he is explicit: proper now, these days,issues are NOT working out. The restriction of the time frame and the area that is left for the listener to think about the dull partnership that surrounds the moment we are presented with, tends to make the song come alive.
The conclusion of every single chorus, and the song itself, is that Jagger himself does not know if this will be the last time — that he is wronged, that he feels this way, that he has the realization that the connection that he is in is not what he wants — but he wants to make it clear: some thing has changed and he is ready to leave. The conversation between the characters that takes place right after this song is one we do not get to hear spelled out, the months or years that lead up to it are not explicitly described, but the feeling we are left with is a single that includes the weight of all of that context. A brilliant piece of pop that, much like Bruce Springsteen’s “Promised Land” explodes the concept of what the form can include.