Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Happy Birthday to Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, who turns 62 today. And speaking of the Stones, there's been some talk for the last few days of a song in their upcoming album A Bigger Bang entitled "Neo-Con." As you might guess, it is supposedly a screed against the Bush administration's foolish attempts to spread democracy and about the havoc it has wreaked in places like Iraq. It may end up on the cutting room floor, as happens quite often. But if it remains, well, so be it. Conservatives (South Park types and neocons both) have always had to reconcile the good with the bad--appreciating the acting of Sean Penn and Tim Robbins while trying not to dwell on how much they would hate you if they met you. Or getting past the message in order to appreciate the song (like U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky"). None of this is new. What would be remarkable is if the new Stones album was actually any good. With 16 tracks, it will be the band's longest album since Exile on Main Street. (Personally, I prefer the 1970s Stones and haven't liked anything after Tattoo You.)


Anonymous said...

I agree, after Tattoo You they should have hung it up; however, when performing earns you a couple hundred million dollars each tour??

Well, it ceased being about the music a long long time ago.

Anonymous said...

I always like Paul Westerberg's (The Replacements) quote about the Stones back in the day - "The should have shot them after 'Some Girls'".

Of course, one could say the same thing about the Replasments after "Pleased to Meet Me".

louielouie said...

they could sing about being back in the ussr. you don't know how lucky you are boy, back in the us, back in the us, back in the ussr. or something about moscow girls making you scream and shout.

Anonymous said...

i agree the stones have become a vegas revue/ however i highly recomend keith richards first solo album ' talk is cheap'

That Dude said...


Thus concludes my in-depth analysis.

Anonymous said...

Even the Stones acknowledge that their music since Tattoo You has sucked: They don't play post-1981 songs.

Well, except for a few tunes from whatever lame excuse for an album that they're touring behind that year.

The further irony is that Tattoo You was reportedly just a collection of leftover album tracks from 1970s sessions.

The Stones have now been performing for over a quarter of a century without producing a single album of worthwhile new music.

Now that's artistic bankruptcy.

miklos rosza said...

one problem was that jagger's vocals were always a kind of parody of black american blues singers. and that was fine. but at some point he began to parody himself.

Anonymous said...

Now that's artistic bankruptcy.

Aside from the fact that the Rolling Stones have long since forgotten about the artistic nature of their endeavor, that is the only type of bankruptcy they have to be concerned about.

Anonymous said...

Who's Paul Westerberg?

Damian P. said...

The Stones' publicist says the "Neo-Con" song is not about Bush. We'll see. (This isn't the first time the Stones have released a song on that subject - the single "High Wire", from their 1991 live album, 'Flashpoint', is a rather clumsy song condemning Gulf War I.)

There are a handful of post-1981 Stones songs I like - "Saint of Me" from 'Bridges to Babylon' and "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Can't Be Seen" from 'Steel Wheels' - but yeah, they really should have hung it up after 'Some Girls'.

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear God, am I sick of the "Stones haven't done anything good since '81" cliche!

"Bridges to Babylon" and "Voodoo Lounge" had their share of filler, sure, but they were both solid, occasionally brilliant, albums. ("How Can I Stop" from "Bridges" is among the best songs Keith has ever written, period.)

From what I've heard of the new album - 3 songs are on iTunes - "Bigger Bang" sounds like it might be pretty excellent. "Rough Justice" is balls-to-the-wall Stones. "Back of My Hand" is a straight blues tune that will no doubt have critics swooning, "Why haven't they put out a song like this in the past 20 years?!"

And the answer is: They put out songs like that for, oh, the first 20 years of their career. They actually tried to push the boundaries of their fundamental sound, not always successfully (blah, blah, blah).