Monday, October 30, 2023

Album Review: The Rolling Stones' Hackney Diamonds (2023)

The Rolling Stones' Hackney Diamonds
I may be a little late to the party with this, but here's my two cents worth of rockcrit blather about the Rolling Stones' recently-released Hackney Diamonds album. I still dislike the first single; "Angry" is hopelessly inane as sung by a wealthy 80-year-old rock star, but it plays better without the absurd music video they hacked together to accompany the song.

There's a few things that I like a lot here..."Whole Wide World" sounds like an edgier version of the energetic Some Girls version of the Stones with some cool avant-garde guitar squonk. Mick's vox on "Dreamy Skies" are a little too featherweight, but I like the song's dominant, sleazy Exile-era vibe and bluesy guitar grease. "Live By the Sword" offers up some scorching guitar pyrotechnics and one of Charlie's last recorded performances... they're really gonna miss Mr. Watts if they carry on.

"Sweet Sounds of Heaven," with Lady Gaga, has really grown on me and probably should have been the album's initial single release, and the band is always gonna bring it on a Delta throwback like "Rolling Stone Blues," with Mick still trying to sound like Muddy Waters after all these decades.
I'm of mixed feelings about the chinzy album cover artwork, which assaults the eyeballs like some cheap-o late '80s heavy metal album, or maybe some of the worst visual abominations that came out of Master P's No Limits label in the late 1990s and early '00s. The album production is a wee too clean and tidy for my taste but, overall, Hackney Diamonds is better than I expected, tho' not anywhere near a "Second Coming"'s a solid late-period Stones effort that reminds one of the band's long-enduring greatness but doesn't add much to their already massive rock 'n' roll legacy... (Geffen Records, released September 6th, 2023)

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