It should come as no surprise that it took sex, disease and death to shake the Rolling Stones out of their latest creative dry spell. Leading up to the making of A Bigger Bang
, produced by Don Was
, Mick Jagger endured a very public break-up with Jerry Hall, Charlie Watts battled throat cancer, and Ron Wood was devastated by the news of his ex-wife's suicide. Out of their collective struggles, the members of the venerable British rock band managed to piece together some of their best work in nearly two decades. It's a slick, slightly uneven affair bounding from raunchy blues to MOR rock songs that sound suspiciously like they were left over from the Alfie
soundtrack, yes, but it also sounds vital at every turn. Even though they don't really need to, the jet-set vagabond rockers plunge into hot-button politics ("Sweet Neo Con"), rummage through their dirty laundry ("Oh No, Not You Again") and dip cautious toes back into ridicule-tempting "Miss You"-style funk ("Rain Fall Down"), without making any major missteps unless you count the ewwwww
-factor of a 61-year-old Keith Richards singing "Come on honey, bare your breasts and make me feel at home" on "This Place Is Empty." --Aidin Vaziri
A Bigger Bang is an ambitious, wide-ranging collection of hard-hitting, high-powered rock and blues songs. Running a full sixteen tracks, it is the band's longest new album since 1972's Exile on Main Street. Key cuts include 'Streets Of Love', 'Rough Justice' and 'Back Of My Hand', a raw, rough-edged new song in the classic Rolling Stones blues style. A Bigger Bang was produced by Don Was and The Glimmer Twins. Virgin. 2005.