The Rolling Stones

A Bigger Bang (Virgin)

For decades, each okay-but-not-great Stones CD has inspired the inevitable Rolling Stone review that declares it to be masterful -- hence the mag's recent four-and-a-half-star rave, in which writer Alan Light said the disc recalled "rough, underrated" albums such as Dirty Work and Emotional Rescue. Both of which were okay but not great, by the way.

Listen, these guys can still play, and, as is confirmed by this issue's interview with Jet's Cameron Muncey (page 89), they retain some of their original appeal, despite being more heavily leathered than Ricardo Montalban's car. As a bonus, the new long-player avoids embarrassing trend-hopping moments; there's no Neptunes production here. Yet the top rockers, such as "Rough Justice," are basically pastiches of past triumphs, and plenty of other tunes resemble pastiches of past filler.

Bang's best moment -- a dirty blues called "Back of My Hand" -- suggests that the Stones didn't go back far enough. But that hardly matters to the folks at Rolling Stone, who'd give Mick and company four and a half stars for breathing. And probably will someday.

 
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