Primitive, no, but cool sophomore effort from Jagger
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 08/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Following the Stones' Dirty Work, bickering amongst the Stones prevented them from having the anticipated quinquennial tour. Both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards decided on solo albums, creating speculations whether the end of the Stones was nigh. Such wasn't the case however.
But Mick Jagger's second solo album, Primitive Cool, went more on a harder-edged guitar rock sound than the pop polishings of She's The Boss. All songs were produced by Mick himself, with assistance from Keith Diamond and Dave Stewart, and he brought back Jeff Beck on lead guitar.
That's not to say that some of the pop polish was gone. The first single, "Let's Work," his simplistic solution on killing poverty, went to #39. The song seems to be a mean-spirited hit against welfare recipients, but maybe against those who take advantage of the system-"can generosity bring you humility?"
The second single, the #67 "Throwaway," owes a bit to the Stones, but is more typical of Mick's new hard-driving sound, but the theme of a "been there done that" greasy Casanova who finally wants some true love has been done before. "Radio Control" is even better, featuring some hard guitar riffs. Living Colour's Vernon Reid has guitar chores, so I wonder if it's him here.
The title track is an amusing commentary on how the young ask those who lived in the 50's and 60's if they lived the history of those times, be it fashion or political upheavals, as they learned it in school or saw on TV. I shudder to think of the time when it comes my turn, when some whippersnappers ask me of the 80's, "It all seems so primitive, how did you survive? It all seemed so different then. How did you stay alive?" His easy answer is to tell them what they want to hear, "Oh yeah," but sardonically telling the whippersnappers "Well I think you've got it figured out/go check it out for yourself/cause I've had it playing teacher for today."
"Kow Tow" is a song on taking a stand against a lover gone bad, refusing to be bound to the past or being blackmailed, with some crunching guitar on the chorus. The jumping "Shoot Off Your Mouth" comes closest to the Stones-like nastiness, and is a harder-edged Little Richard/Elvis-type song slamming another ex who not only puts him down but becomes like the proverbial rat on a sinking ship when things go bad. And when he gets stronger, "who are you to shoot off your mouth?" he demands. The most energetic song here and a fave.
The bittersweet ballad "Party Doll" sees Mick visiting country since "Faraway Eyes." More an acoustic piece than country, it shows the disillusionment that sets in once the giddy party days are over, especially when the other half "wants to live in clover." Paddy Maloney gives an Irish flavour with the Uileann pipes. Mary Chapin Carpenter later covered this on her greatest hits album.
"I was born in a war, that's why they call me a war baby" sings Mick in the sobering anti-war "War Babies. The poverty experienced by the Brits, the storming of Omaha Beach on D-Day is juxtaposed with the Cold War arms race, with a faint background sound effects of air raid sirens, bombs, and machine gun clatter. "Why can't we hope to find a cure" be it to war, poverty, and security, is an oft-cried question, with a solution that can be either an impossible dream or a darker one.
A few filler songs fail to dampen a stronger solo album from Mick, who despite revisiting familiar themes, is has a reflective side on the title track and "Party Doll." It would be after another Stones album before Mick would go for round three with Wandering Spirit. "
Not very primitive, not very cool
Riccardo Pelizzo | baltimore, maryland USA | 12/02/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Primitive Cool is Jagger's second solo album. If She's the Boss (1985)was a decent, though not great record, Primitive Cool turned out to be a major disappointment.
The album as a whole was not very good and did not show any sign of improvement over She's the Boss.
As to the songs. Let's Work - the first single released from this album - is really crap. And the other songs are not much better. Most songs are boring and the lyrics are often pathetic. On say you will Mick sings: "cast all you fears aside, say you will, say will be mine". The words in Throwaway are not much better (used to be a casanova, used to dance bossanova,..). This is ridiculous. Mick Jagger should remember he can do better than that!
The only songs to be saved is Party Doll, which, when played acoustic, is a nice little thing."
Not the greatest output!
Enjoying the Ride | USA | 11/08/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I also bought this album (CD) when it first came out in the late 1980s, starving for something from the Stones. I actually liked She`s the Boss and hoped that this one would be equal to it, but perhaps a little more up-to-date. Boy, was I wrong. I think that, apart from one or two tracks, most of it`s garbage. Listen to "War Baby" and I keep expecting to hear bombs go off and the sounds of sirens. I guess the thing is with Mick is that he was in a class of his own and did not have to produce this kind of stuff. I am sure he really does not like it, and he certainly did not need the cash. Pass on this one and buy Waundering Spirit instead."
GREAT SONGS WELL DONE
Pieter | Johannesburg | 07/07/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one top quality album! Throwaway is great, Let's Work is better, a real singalong rocker, and Say You Will is even better -- a rousing piece done with real emotion and soul. War Baby, Party Doll and the title track are also good. All in all a solid album with memorable melodic rock songs."
A very underrated record!!!!!!
anubus | 11/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mick's second solo record is very good. Some songs are better than others but it's overall a little better than She's the Boss. Say you will should've been a hit. Check out Mary Chapin Carpenter's version of Party Doll."