Sunday, April 26, 2020
LIVING IN A GHOST TOWN by The Rolling Stones
,the first new music the Stones have released in decade is certainly news. But it doesn't do much for me.The tune seems like a less inspired 'Waiting for a Friend"--hardly my favorite Stones song--but instead of a spry Sonny Rollins saxophone solo, we get Jagger's harmonica. At this point it's a bit of a sham for anyone old enough to have known this great band at their height to pretend that Jagger is a musician worth concentrating on. This would have been a great song for Sugar Blue to elevate. It perhaps is fitting and ironic that they produced a topical song that's as empty as the city they're singing about.Lest anyone understandably mistake me for a Stones basher who thinks they are not just relics of a better past but actually the dust all old bones eventually become, I think the Stones have been one of the very few 60s acts who've managed to continue to make good rock and roll as they've aged and found themselves in the 21st century. A Bigger Bang, their 2005 album and the last full disc of original material, I consider one of the best of that year. Steel Wheels, Bridges to Babylon and Voodoo Lounge were entertaining and credibly rocking. I have nothing against their age; they are a band of longstanding achievement, and they continue to tour (until recently) because that is what musicians do, perform live. But I have never been a big fan of the band's slower, more "philosophical" tunes--Jagger may be first rate wit and world class cynic with talent for creating a convincing persona to carry a tale, his gentler side has never convinced me of anything other than he's attempting a role he's not cut out for. Jagger is a remarkable vocalist and front man who’s sold me on a dozen poses he’s proffered over the many decades—droogy punk, bisexual drug addict, street fighting man, serial killer/rapist/ aristocrat/ blues shaman—but the reflective , the contemplative, the softly ironic muse role is something he is not suited for. The actor’s mask suddenly cracks.