After just three years without a new Stones release, "Steel Wheels" was hailed as a comeback. But after that, it took the Stones five years to come up with "Voodoo Lounge".
So is it a better record than its predecessor?
Well, perhaps not..."Steel Wheels" was actually pretty good.
But "Voodoo Lounge" could have been better, it is just too long. In the "old days" it would have been a double LP, and it seems that many artists feel that with the longer playing time of the compact disc, they have to come up with more material.
If the Stones had cut five songs and put out a lean, mean ten-track CD instead, "Voodoo Lounge" would have felt like a much stronger album, but forgettable mediocrities like "Baby Break It Down" and "Suck On The Jugular" drag it down a little.
That's not to say that it doesn't have its share of excellent songs, however. "You Got Me Rocking" is one of the best, toughest rockers the Stones have done for many long years, all raw electric guitars and thundering drums, and a great lead vocal from Mick Jagger.
The opening song, the grinding "Love Is Strong", is great as well; Jagger plays some excellent, bluesy harmonica, and new bassist Darryl Jones contributes a deep, rumbling bass line.
Other highlights include the lean, up-tempo hard rock of the sleazy "Sparks Will Fly", the slow, acoustic "The Worst" (sung in a hoarse whisper by Keith Richards), the lovely ballads "Out Of Tears" and "Sweethearts Together", and the funky, swaggering blues-rocker "Brand New Car".
And fans of the "Sopranos" TV series will probably recognize Keith Richards' quietly menacing "Thru And Thru" as well.
The band recorded Charlie Watt's drum parts in a stairwell, resulting in the biggest, most powerful drum sound since Kiss' monstrous "I Love It Loud", and the neo-classicist production by Don Was is simply excellent, clear and uncluttered.
One of the Stones' best albums of the 80s and 90s for sure, perhaps even the best.