41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
The best Stones album post-Tatoo You.,
This review is from: Voodoo Lounge (Audio CD)
The Rolling Stones are a victim of their own magnitude. It has long been far hipper to dismiss them as aging, wealthy dilitantes than it has been to admit to liking their work. And too, The Ronnie Wood years do not have the cache that the Mick Taylor early 70s work or the Brian Jones Britpop 60s work had-- even though Wood has been a Stone for 30 of their 42 years. Voodoo Lounge is, I think, unchallenged as the high point of their output post-1980, and it is a strong album from start to finish.
The best thing about Voodoo Louge is that is doesn't have a "sound"-- which is to say, it sounds like the Stones. Ronnie Wood is an outstanding guitrist and the perfect foil for Richards, and this is a guitar album first and foremost (well, it is a song album, but then a guitar album.) "Love is Strong" and "You Got Me Rocking" are radio-ready (or iPod-ready) classic riff-rockers in the best Stones tradition. "Brand New Car" is snaky and groovy and beguiling, with Jagger's nasty vocal implying far more than he actually puts in the lyric, and Woody and Keef dancing their magic weave together. "Sweethearts Together" is reminiscent of "Indian Girl" from Emotional Rescue (another underrated album with which this shares some groove and spirit.)
As is the case on most of the last 7 or so Stones albums, the Keith songs are highlights. "The Worst" is one of those poignant anti-ballad ballads he does, his ravaged and coarse voice belying the sentiment of the lyric and the quality of the songwriting. And "Thru and Thru" is just simply outstanding; used to great effect to conclude season 2 of the Sopranos cable series, it is a snarling, gritty rocker that by itself makes this album noteworthy.
The Voodoo Lounge sessions were productive ones, and there are many bootlegs floating around of outtakes, demos, and alternate versions. It is worth noting that one of these bootlegs contains an alternate version of the album, in sequence-- supposedly "Keith's mix"-- that actually surpasses the released version.
If you want to check out a later-period Stones album, this is the one. Every one has at least one or two or three tracks that make it worthwhile, but this is clearly the strongest and most consistent. From here, Bridges to Babylon is good too, less consistent but worth the effort, especially the deeper you get into the record (past the radio hits and into the art.) Steel Wheels sounds tinny to me, although there too the last few songs are worth the effort (especially Keith's gorgeous "Slipping Away.") Undercover and Dirty Work are probably the last post-1980 studio releases you need, although there again, each has a gem or three.
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Initial post: Jul 23, 2010 3:34:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 23, 2010 3:35:37 PM PDT
Well written review, but I gotta disagree and go "Steel Wheels" on ya, but to each his own.
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