Wednesday, August 31, 2005

You're driving too fast/ gonna run out of gas...

The new Stones album? Well, Jann Wenner will give it five stars, but it's pretty bad. I have to sort it out track by track:

"Rough Justice" comes out of the gates with firearms and almost rises above Mick's gasping attempt to set up a pun revolving around "cock", which seems to take him a whole verse to get out. Damn, back in the day, it would take him half the time to set up that pun, and on his best day, he could do it in the space of a drum fill. It's sad, like when Steve Carlton was pitching for the Twins, and he lost his cutter. Mick's lost a step. It's tough to watch. But the song sounds big and intimate at once, which is really something. So I never thought I'd say this, but... hats off to you, Don Was.

"Let Me Down Slow" isn't bad either. Two for two.

Around the third song, "It Won't Take Long", things start getting to the point where you're checking your watch. I mean, 16 songs? Really? No, it is going to take long, and I have other places to be. Where? Uh... OK, I'm a bad liar. I was just planning on reading Harry Potter and drinking Pucker from the bottle.

In real time: Oh God, "Rain Fall Down" is horrible. Like "Harlem Shuffle" bad. Oh God... "and we maaaade sweet love..." Keep it in your diary, Mick. Alright, now he's fucking rapping or something. Here's where Don Was earns his paycheck as the shittiest producer alive. Wow. No, this is bad. I could write a whole book on how bad this is. How many times does Charlie Watts grimace in an 8 hour day? I mean, this is a train wreck. It's like watching a dumb person trying to operate machinery or a midget trying to reach something on a high shelf. It makes a comment on the human condition, and it makes me uncomfortable. If I were ever to come in possession of this album, I would pinpoint the physical part of the disc where this song is stored and scratch it out of existence. And it would be a mercy killing. Not to overstate how bad this song is or anything...

"Streets of Love" is so bad, it turned the corner at awful, snuck up on me from behind, kidnapped me, and made me fall in love with it. It's like the Symbionese Liberation Army and I've got me some Stockholm Syndrome. We're getting married in the spring.

Oh thank God, "Back of My Hand" is some deep down in the delta blues. Keepin' it real.

"She Saw Me Coming": At this point I realize the Stones aren't a good band anymore. It's also the point I realized I'm only 7 songs in and the feeling is close to the one you get when you're raking leaves and you realize you still have the whole back yard to do. That's not a good feeling.

"Biggest Mistake": I think this album is so bad, it changed my DNA, and now I think this is a great song. Fantastic. I wouldn't have before, but at this point, I'll take what I can. It sounds like it'll be the second single. It reminds me, across the board, or R.E.M.'s "Aftermath" from Around the Sun. It kind of stoops down to meet you halfway, and you appreciate it, but you sense some condescension and a little lowest-common-denominatorness.

Now comes the first Keith song, "This Place is Empty" and it's odd. It's all over the place, musically. It feels like he just started playing and everyone else tried to get into the groove. But can you ever deny Keith?

Then it's back to the kick-out-the-jams rock with "Oh No, Not You Again". And it's fine. You know when you hear "Rock and Hard Place" off Steel Wheels and think how it kind of rocks? But then once the song's over it's not like you're aching to hear it agin? Yeah, it's the same thing here. Can you imagine the marketing for this album: "A return to the glory days... of Steel Wheels!" But "I'm like jello/ staring down your tits?" It's like Mick doesn't even try. It's not even proper English; I'm confused how you stare down one's tits. Is it like staring down one's dress, or are you engaged in some sort of macho staring contest with a pair of nipples? Because you won't win that one; nipples, as a rule, do not back down. Anyway, at this point I wouldn't put it past Mick to sing "Can't wait for my penis to enter your vagina" if he could find the proper line to rhyme it with.

"Dangerous Beauty" wasn't good when it was a Foreigner b-side and it's no better now.

Don Was craps up "Laugh, I Nearly Died" with 80s-era productions. What the hell is going on with those guitar effects? Mick's torch singing his ass off, but it just doesn't matter.

I'm losing steam. It's like my 32nd day on a lifeboat, and the head of guy at the other end of the boat keeps turning into a cheeseburger.

Uh oh, time for "Sweet Neo Con", which was demoed under the name "Publicity Grab". Mick has the rhetorical skills of an overnight talk radio host: "You call yourself a patriot/ I think you are full of shit." Wasn't that an Oscar Wilde line? "There's bombers in my bedroom/ and it's giving me the shits"? Mick, you do know that there's shitting your pants, and then there's having the shits. And I don't know how it is in England, where a loo is a toilet and the first floor is on the second floor, but over on this side of the pond, those are completely different things. And what you're saying, Mr. Jagger, is that terrorists give you diarrhea.

"Look What the Cat Dragged In" features Mick thinking he's breaking news by using the phrase "walk of shame" and Keith steals guitar parts from, honest to God, INXS.
This sounds like "Listen Like Thieves".

"Driving Too Fast": I'm just happy I'm almost done. This isn't horrible. Once again, my standards are real low right now. Actually, screw that; this is pretty bad.

And so we come to the last song, Keith's second, "Infamy". The rescue ship's in the distance and I think they've seen my flare. It's sad that the most positive reaction I've had to this album is when I realized I'm thisclose to being done with it. "Infamy" floats on this wierd burbling processed repitition, like a robot playing a mouth harp. (I'm right in assuming we can't call it a Jew's harp anymore, right? Anyone?) But you know, the thing about Keith's songs is at least they have a bit of dignity and subtlety. At worst this makes me look forward to an Expenisive Winos album.

And with that, I need to sleep. And listen to Twilight Singers.


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