He's the boss on his first solo album (except the title song
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 07/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Before the Stones' Dirty Work hit the shelves in 1986, Mick Jagger released his first solo album a year before. Like Phil Collins doing a different sound to distinguish his solo material from Genesis, so too does Mick to differentiate She's The Boss from another Rolling Stones album with guitar chores from Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend and some keyboard work by jazz great Herbie Hancock. It has a smoother sound yet manages to rock with a pop polish. Most of the songs are produced by Bill Laswell, but Nile Rodgers of Chic does his hand on three of the tracks.
Those are "½ a Loaf", which features a sound one might recognize on Like A Virgin, also helmed by Rodgers, who also does guitar here, with former bandmate Bernard Edwards on bass. Having a clandestine affair is deemed "half a glass, half a dream, half a life" and in the bridge, a frustrated Mick just says to heck with it and let it all hang out. He then calls upon some overprotective guardian to "Turn The Girl Loose." Featuring a strong bass, Mick really belts it out when he yells "let her out of jail." It even has Alfa Anderson doing a sassy rap declaring her independence and free will at the end. "Secrets" shows that a respectable wife isn't that respectable but has been really out on the town.
Even though not produced by Rodgers, the sound on the first danceable single "Just Another Night" is a disguised cousin of "Material Girl" in terms of sound. It hit #12 on the singles chart, somewhat low considering his long history with the Stones, but it was a #1 mainstream rock hit. Jagger seems to be shucking off the bad boy persona of the Stones: "Can't you see that I'm human" and "I get hungry, I get thirsty, I get moody, I need attention." Some great percussive effects by Sly Dunbar here.
The closest thing to the Stones comes from Keith Richards' co-penning of the energetic rocker "Lonely At The Top" a warning on how fame, the thing "that leads young girls astray" eventually strips away one's soul once one reaches that pinnacle. One might indulge Jagger, as his band is considered one of the greatest bands in the rock and roll pantheons.
Another lively track, "Running Out of Luck" has Mick on harmonica. This also spawned an extended concept video of the same name, and which I presume had the videos for "Just Another Night" and "Lucky In Love" on it.
Where the Stones were chauvinistic on some of their previous albums, a few songs champion the woman. Other than "Turn The Girl Loose," there's "Hard Woman," a tender and melodic ballad with some strings that's actually one of my favourites tracks and could've been a single. Lots of famed players are here, Tony Thompson of Chic and the Power Station on drums, Jan Hammer on piano, and Beck and Townshend on guitars. Despite the woman being materialistic, cruel and unfaithful, he has no regrets of the time spent: "Alone at last, I could've loved in vain for a thousand years, I have to let her go." The tongue-in-cheek title track, this time is a humorous role reversal, with Mick as the submissive half: "she's the boss in the office, she's the boss in the kitchen, she's the boss in bed, she's the boss in my head." In a spoken bedroom banter later in the song, he says stuff like "I got a headache," "I gotta wash my hair" and that old favourite, "it's my time of the month." OK, Mick, I don't think we needed to know that.
"Lucky In Love," the other single, is a humorous tale of someone who doesn't come up trumps in gambling but when it comes to the ladies... Well, Mick is one with the ladies, to be sure. And the challenging rap at the end, with Mick betting and raising with the full house he's been set up with is amusing. I like this better than the first single, so why it managed a #38 showing is beyond me. Top Ten for sure!
Hardcore Stones fans may not take too kindly to this smoother pop/rock sound. The solid and consistent She's the Boss showed Mick could successfully break away and do his own thing without his bandmates. "
Riccardo Pelizzo | baltimore, maryland USA | 12/02/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"She's the Boss (1985) was Mick Jagger's first solo album. In my view it is much better than Goddes in the Doorway or Primitive Cool, but not as good as Wandering Spirit--which is an excellent record.
She's the Boss is a good record, but it's not great. Just Another Night, Lucky in Love are kind of catchy songs, but the album does not have much personality, not much depth. It pales in comparison to Keith's first solo effort.
That said, I enjoyed listening to this record for the past 17 years. Mick's voice is still at his best, some songs are truly nice (Hard Woman is in the tradition of the great Rolling Stones slow songs), and Jeff Beck's solos are sheer talent--listen for example to the solo on Hard Woman or on the otherwise mediocre Running out of luck.
It's a 4 stars"
She's the Boss of Them all
Riccardo Pelizzo | 08/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was in High School I first discovered the Stones when the concert movie "Let's Spend the Night Together" hit cable TV. At that time I was hideing out in my older brother's apartment, pipeing the cable sound through the stereo so I could crank the sound track up very, very loudly. So, of course, I became a huge fan of the Rolling Stones. But the Stones essientally broke up after the tour was over, and after the release of "Undercover" there was no new Stone's material until "She's the Boss" was released. The general opinion at that time was that the Stones were over as a band, and that Mick Jagger finally going solo was going to be how the Stones sound would be brought into the modern era. (The few people at that time who even knew who Keith Richards was considered him out of the loop and a ridiculus relic of 70's areana rock.) In most people's opinion Mick Jagger WAS the Rolling Stones. So given the degree of curiousity and anticipation surrounding the release of this CD, it was almost guarenteed to be a disappointment to both the fans and the critics. However, there is some great pop music here. If it had been released by any other artist other than Mick Jagger under these circumstances it would have been hailed as one of the great 80s albums. (It is by far the best solo effort Mick has made so far.) The guitar playing of Pete Townsend and Jeff Beck is incredible, but you have to listen closely; it is buried under the 80's dance beats. The lyrics are some of the best Mick Jagger has ever written; they are wonderfully jaded and world weary -- and no they are not lyrics written as a celebration of the working class, if you want that buy Skynard or Kid Rock CDs. Nor is the CD a celebration of hippiedom for the modern era, to soothe the wounded optimism of ageing but well-to-do hippies; the Grateful Dead did that. It is in short an 80s era CD (Creed/Pearl Jam fans stay away.) Here you will find some of the greatest studio muscians ever assembled backing up one of the most flamboyant and over-the-top lead singers to ever grace the history of Rock and Roll. No apolagies need to be made."
Patrick D. Stella | 12/29/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This album is okay, but it shows why Mick needs Keith: to keep Mick from getting lost in slick-land. The guitars are all shiny, slick, fast-picking and soulless. Give me a sloppy Keith Richards rhythm any day. "Just Another Night" is a good song, a good composition, and played and sung well. It's the best on the album. "Hard Woman" is good, with good acoustic work by Pete Townshend. But Mick's vocal is so quavering, it mars an otherwise good song. "She's the Boss" is okay, but it's basically ONE CHORD. Was Mick trying to do a rap song, without it actually being rap?...who knows... The other songs are so so at best. No attitude, no grit, no personality. Keith's solo albums are TOO gritty and sloppy, so Keith needs Mick as much as Mick needs Keith. Thank God they kissed and made up, and made the great Stones albums they've made since."
Hey, It's Really Not That Bad!
Patrick D. Stella | Oswego, NY United States | 12/31/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
""She's the Boss" has been much maligned by fans and press alike. Especially since he has released some real gems after this like "Wandering Spirit" and "Godess in the Doorway." But "She's the Boss" (and for that matter, "Primitive Cool") show Mick tentatively stepping out and showcasing some of the dance experiments he has always been interested in (hey, since "Hot Stuff" Mick has tried these dance beats out with the Stones). But there are some real moments of inspired songwriting too, like "Hard Woman," "Secrets" and "1/2 a Loaf." And vocally, there are some very nice moments all over the record. Sure, I could have done without a few of the "filler" songs, and I wouldn't begin your Mick Jagger collection here, but it's certainly not a waste of your money if you like some of his better releases."