First, for their second album in a row, they've managed to come up with one of the stupidest songs they've ever recorded. If their horrible attempt to sound trendy with "Anybody Seen My My Baby" wasn't bad enough on "Bridges to Babylon," they've out done themselves trying to please the Hollywood left-wing idiot political crowd with "Sweet Neo Con." Ah, the beauty of modern technology, just program that stupid song out.
The album opens with one of the best Stones' rockers since "Tattoo You" with "Rough Justice" full of lots of great Keith riffs and Ronnie slides. "Let Me Slow Down" is a conventional Stones rocker -- nothing bad, but nothing to want to hear a million times like their great numbers. "It Won't Take Long" is another Keith attitude piece with meaningless Jagger warbles laid down to make it a Stones song, another throw away unless you turn it up real loud and just want to hear the guitar interplay.
"Rain Fall Down" is one of the most unique tunes on the album, a mixture of reggae and contemporary pop touches. it's a fun listen. This one is actually a new sound unlike anything the Stones have recorded before.
"Streets of Love" is a marvelous power ballad with Jagger showing how he can still command a very emotive lead vocal. Clearly embracing R&B influences of the late 70's and early 80's, this is one of the freshest sons on the album, no kid's stuff for sure, a mature love song. Ronnie Wood's guitar solo is pure heaven. This might have made a strong single in the 80's.
"Back of My Hand" is pure blues, perhaps one of the most authentic real blues numbers the Stones have done since "Exile on Main Street."
"She Saw Me Coming" just noise, skip it. "Biggest Mistake" is a fast paced ballad that is pretty typical Stones material from "Steel Wheels" forward. It's a good listen.
"The Place is Empty" is the first of two Keith vocals. This one is a good old Keith ballad sounding like he took singing lessons from Bob Dylan and Lou Reed. Keith fans will love it. Others might skip it.
"Oh No, Not You Again" is a concert ready rocker. It's the standard fare of the Stones for ages. Stones fans should like it even though they've been down the same road before with better results.
"Dangerous Beauty" is another guitar riff workout. Nothing special but a nice dose of Keith and Ronnie engaged in their "ancient art of weaving."
"Laugh I Nearly Died," Jagger silliness with some pretty good guitar work supporting it in places, pretty much filler.
"Neo Con" is perhaps the worst song the Stones ever did.
"Look What the Cat Dragged In" plays like another cut and paste Stones rocker. Nothing new, perhaps could benefit from a more inspired performance. Guitar riffs pretty good towards the end.
"Driving Too Fast" sounds like rehashed mish-mash, just filler. They've played this formula to better results many times before.
Keith closes out the album with "Infamy" which seems to be a play on words for "In for Me." Jagger usually goes into hiding for most Keith numbers but plays a pretty nasty harp on this one..the featured instrument that drives most of the tune over some sleazy rhythm guitar. Once again, this is a pleaser for Keith's fans but won't win any converts.
"Bigger Bang" might feed the appetite of hard core Stones fans who'd relish a fix of new material after a long hiatus, but for most listeners there are so many great albums to chose from. This is not one of them. While it got pretty good reviews upon release, it's not aging well. It's likely to gather dust on the shelf with "Undercover" and "Dirty Work" though it's probably a better album than either of those two choices.
Of late career Stones albums, "Voodoo Lounge" is the best having some rockers that stand up to their best and some interesting diversions. "Bridges to Babylon" is a sloppy album, very inconsistent, but when they're on, they do some great tunes, some new departures, others just good old Stones. For listeners wanting to sample what Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ronnie have been doing since "Start Me Up" either one of those albums would be a good place to turn. "Steel Wheels" is okay too, but perhaps a little too polished to age well.
We keep hoping the Stones still have a great album left in them. Surely, Keith and Ronnie have all kinds of guitar tricks left in their hands and Charley never fails. Their song writing just doesn't create much that grabs the listener any longer though "Rough Justice" is a hot hoot. They've also become almost too professional for their own good in the studios.
Surely, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to buy the "remaster" if one owns the original. There's just no new ground to be broken in just a few short years.
The Stones need a kick in the inspiration department to do better than just another Stones album which "Bigger Bang" represents.