A Bigger Bang
is the Rolling Stones first studio album since Bridges to Babylon
eight years ago. It features the single "Streets of Love", the controversial "Sweet Neo Con", and the already classic blues track, "Back of My Hand".
A Bigger Bang
--the Rolling Stones'
25th studio album--begins exactly how Rolling Stones albums ought to begin, with the testosterone calling-card explosion of "Rough Justice"; a ribald, licentious rocker with Sir Mick getting bawdy and with Keith Richard's infernal bottleneck guitar sliding around like an aroused python on an oil slick. Sigmund Freud would have had a field day.
Venerable rock aristocrats they may be but beneath the wrinkles and erudition throbs the passion of reckless, raffish young dandies whose loins cannot be encumbered by codpieces. It's to the Stones credit that (knighthoods aside) they can still sound like the sort of chaps you wouldn't want hanging around your daughter. Jagger sounds fantastic; tawdry, bitchy and condescending on stompers like "Look What The Cat Dragged In" and like a dumped mug on the jilted love tale of "She Saw Me Coming".
At sixteen tracks the album is long and not entirely without its shortcomings--"Sweet Neo Con" won't have George W Bush choking on any pretzels and "Driving Too Fast" sounds like a cross between "Jumping Jack Flash" and a lecture in road safety. But there are strong ballads ("Streets of Love") vintage malt blues ("Back of My Hand") and even Keith resurrecting one of Kenneth William's finest wordplays on "Infamy". Best Stones album in yonks? Quite possibly so. --Kevin Maidment