For a significant period, discussions surrounding new announcements from The Rolling Stones have primarily focused on their age rather than their music.
Even when they hit the 50-year mark as a band in 2012, the tone shifted from amusement at their enduring vitality to genuine concern.
How could Mick Jagger, soon to become a great-grandfather, continue to exude the same energy on stage, running 12 miles every night while delivering classics like ‘Paint It, Black’ with the elasticity of his youth? It seemed almost unnatural, defying the laws of aging.
Fast forward to 2023, and the seemingly ageless rock icons have started to show signs of vulnerability. In 2019, Jagger had an emergency heart operation.
Tragically, drummer Charlie Watts, the eldest of the original members, passed away at the age of 80 following a brief illness.
Even Keith Richards, once compared to cockroaches as a survivor of apocalyptic scenarios, admitted that his doctors compelled him to quit smoking (but not drinking). The myth of The Stones’ immortality was shattered, and the end of the road seemed closer than ever.
Rolling stones review
Rolling stones review begin with the emerge of ‘Hackney Diamonds,’ the band’s 24th album, and their first in 18 years since 2005’s ‘A Bigger Bang.’ It was a challenging project, with multiple attempts in the studio yielding unsatisfactory results. The pressure escalated when Mick Jagger set a Valentine’s Day deadline to complete the album, making him the driving force behind the Stones’ schedule.
Fortunately, ‘Hackney Diamonds‘ is a delightful offering. The album kicks off with the fiery track ‘Angry,’ showcasing a classic Stones sound and a bone-crushing riff. This is consistent with the band’s tradition of starting their albums with a bang. ‘Get Close’ is a brilliant barroom sing-along, further establishing the early quality of the record.
Jagger’s vocals exude repressed anger on many tracks, whether directed at the establishment in the politically charged ‘Bite My Head Off’ (featuring Paul McCartney) or at an overbearing partner in ‘Driving Me Too Hard.’
The other half of the album reflects a more melancholic mood, exploring broken relationships and pondering how life might have unfolded differently. The disco-infused ‘Mess It Up’ features the lyrics, “You came to the right place, baby, at the wrong time,” while the soul-searching ballad ‘Depending On You’ echoes, “I’m too young for dying, but too old to lose.”
Keith Richards also contributes with his customary solo track, ‘Tell Me Straight,’ questioning whether his future is confined to the past. The Stones have often been accused of flippancy, but they seldom lack depth. These tracks continue to showcase their ability to capture the core anxieties of the human experience, regardless of age.
While ‘Hackney Diamonds’ is generally impressive, there are some less impressive moments. The country-flavored ‘Dreamy Skies’ feels outdated, even for the ’70s, and the punk-infused ‘Live By The Sword’ struggles, primarily due to Jagger’s Johnny Rotten-esque impression. Fortunately, these low points are rare and scattered throughout the album.
The standout track, ‘Sweet Sounds Of Heaven,’ features a sublime gospel performance with Lady Gaga channeling the spirit of ‘Gimme Shelter’ siren Merry Clayton, and Stevie Wonder contributes a jazzy touch on the organ. The album technically concludes with a mini acoustic cover of Muddy Waters’ classic ‘Rollin’ Stone,’ a fitting footnote to the album’s journey.
Ronnie Wood, the guitarist, mentioned that the band has already recorded more material, potentially enough for another album. While this might appear as a public relations strategy to counteract any farewell narratives, ‘Hackney Diamonds’ could serve as a natural endpoint to a remarkable career in rock music. It would be an extraordinary conclusion, far from ordinary.
Rolling stone Album Details
Title: The Rolling Stones – Hackney Diamonds
Release Date: October 20, 2023
Record Label: Polydor