Saturday, August 06, 2005
The Rolling Stones
Anyone who is now...or has ever been...a fan of the Rolling Stones can point to an album when they decided that the band had "jumped the shark". Where they say, with both sadness and resignation, that every Stones album since (fill in the blank) has been...oh let's be charitable and say "uneven". For me that album was Some Girls way back in '78. Since then, their albums have been mixed bags...flashes of brilliance surrounded by lots of lazy dross. They turned from a great album band to a good singles band. And so when the Stones decide it's time to churn out a new record and hit the road to fatten up their coffers, it's not something that brings the anticipation it once might have.
The announcement of their upcoming disc...A Bigger Bang...barely registered with me so when three "singles" were released online (Real.com, iTunes.com) I listened to them not expecting that much. I was pleasantly surprised...though, that said, I remain cautious (they've suckered me in before :-)
The three songs are all different styles but they all show the old dogs in fine form...playing like the music really matters. "Rough Justice" is a balls-to-the-walls rocker that harkens back to the Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main Street era. "Streets of Love", an earnest power ballad, has a great vocal by Mick Jagger and a nimble solo by Keith Richards. "Back of my Hand" is a swampy blues number that works despite some awkward lyrical passages.
Three songs do not a great album make...one presumes they're putting their best foot forward with the release of these tunes...but it makes me more interested in hearing A Bigger Bang than I would have been otherwise. We shall see.