Sunday, September 20, 2015


This follows the usual results of Rolling Stones product since the mid-'80's: It's way better than a Jagger solo album, and quite a bit more listenable than a Stones one. Richards doesn't try to follow any current hit-making formula. Instead, he has his own, and all the Keith bases get covered here. There's a Chuck Berry-styled number (Blues In The Morning), a reggae one, a noir ballad, a country-soaked thing and a bunch of riff-rock songs.

Saying it's better than a Stones album from the past thirty years isn't really saying much of course, but there are moments here. It starts sluggishly, with a creaky acoustic blues, basically a re-write of Key To the Highway called Crosseyed Heart, and then a couple of by-the-books Keith numbers that show up as filler on all his works. But then things get going, and the middle of the album is a pretty cool listen.

Robbed Blind is a different kind of song for Richards, a narrative tale that feels like a musical mob story. Trouble is the first of the riff songs that really works, with a infectious chorus and the kind of groove you expect from him. The reggae number works well too, and there's a strong co-write/duet with Norah Jones, where Richards is able to hold his own, sounding better than you'd think or hope.

On the weak side, there's a pointless cover of Goodnight Irene, and a couple more of those Keith-by-numbers cuts, but overall there's both life here, and quality. Richards proves he can rise above the parody status he often invites.

Oh, just a question: What's a crosseyed heart?

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