The Rolling Stones - Voodoo Lounge
As is so often the case with Stones' albums, the opener is one of the best tracks. It may be formulaic, but if you always start of with a number which is typical of the stuff which got you where you are, then you are not really going to go wrong. "Love Is Strong" is a typical Stones rocker and what you expect when you open up the Stones. Indeed, if it weren't for this style of "grab ‘em by the balls with the opener and see how long you can hold on to them after that" then a Rolling Stones album wouldn't really be a Rolling Stones album.
However, as had been the case with Stones albums for a long time, this is not maintained throughout the whole album. The band seem not to try on occasions and rely on standard riffs and musical patters, sometimes daft lyrics and the occasional overuse of an Anglo-Saxon word for copulation to pull them through. When they resort to this it doesn't work anymore. Oddly, when they delve into the slower numbers on the album, such as "New Faces", vaguely reminiscent of their mid-sixties flirtation with quasi-medieval themes, "Out of Tears" and "Baby Break It Down", the thought that they put into the music becomes apparent. These are the better quality tracks on the album by any reasonable assessment. Is it perhaps indicative of a latent desire to slow down? Is age finally catching up with Mick, Keef and the rest?
Now you would have thought that if you had a sense that you were struggling to maintain a momentum, you wouldn't try to prolong the agony. After all, if you are putting a lot of filler into an album, it kind of makes sense to shorten the album so less filler tracks appear and your intent becomes less obvious. Quite why then the band should have decided to stretch this out to over 61 minutes is quite beyond me. OK a CD can hold more music, but that does not necessarily mean that you are short changing people if you don't fill it up. The result of this perhaps misguided act is to highlight even more than otherwise would have been the case that there is not sufficient material on the album of any quality. Scrap five of the weaker tracks and you have a perfectly good, solid forty-minute album of reasonable quality music left to enjoy.
However, the biggest downer I have on it by far is that it has the cover I hate the most out of all Stones releases. It is frankly hideous. I don't know what happened to the artistic creativity of earlier Stones album covers but it had long since disappeared from view with this cover. If not for that, this album may have even got a higher rating.
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