Sparks DO Fly on the Best Nineties' Stones Album
Danno | NY, NY | 06/16/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Voodoo Lounge" is easily the best of the Rolling Stones' post-"Steel Wheels" CDs. The first half is very strong, containing several radio hits such as "Out of Tears" and "Love is Strong." The second half? Not so much, but at least the CD maintains a consistent stylistic range that doesn't make it seem like Keith Richards and Mick Jagger both wrote and recorded their contributions in different studios. Aside from some excellent ballad material (such as "The Worst" and the aforementioned "Out of Tears"), most of the CD consists of relatively up-tempo Chuck Berry influenced rock that you'll like if you love the Stones' 1970s output. The production, however, is strictly 1990s which means that it's brighter, louder, and harsher than the way the Stones sounded in their glory days. (I turned down the treble and volume a bit when listening.) Thankfully, producer Don Was didn't go totally overboard with the EQ and arrangements and drag the Stones into territory similar to Aerosmith's overblown 1990s sound . . .
Of all the CDs that the Stones recorded since 1989, this is the one that I still listen to. Better than "Bridges to Babylon," stronger than "Steel Wheels." It's an excellent bet for Stones fans, and definitely the best thing they've done since "Tattoo You." You'll remember a lot of these songs when you hear them and unlike "A Bigger Bang," even the filler is enjoyable. This may not be the first title most people think of when they think about the Rolling Stones, but forget the awful cover artwork and put this one on your CD player. This is a very strong CD from some of the toughest rock veterans to crawl the contemporary concert circuit."
Stones least rocking album ever.
D. Cross | Hollywood, CA USA | 10/01/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As much as people slag the Stones' work in the 1980s, to me this is their worst album. It breaks down like this:
1. Love Is Strong (9/10) Great opening song. A midtempo groove song with Mick purring seductively.
2. You Got Me Rocking (9/10) Great rocker. It actually took a while to grow on me, but one of my favorites from the '90s.
3. Sparks Will Fly (6/10) Decent rocker. Not too different from previous song, but not as good.
4. The Worst (5/10) Strange place to put a country-ish Keith ballad. And at just over 2 minutes, it has a throwaway feel. Could've been really good if they'd developed it more.
5. New Faces (4/10) Slow, spare song. Harpsichord immediately takes one back to '60s era, but nowhere near as good or memorable.
6. Moon Is Up (5/10) Very strange, off-putting drum sound. Obviously trying out something different here. Vaguely psychedelic, but then harmonica comes in... it's interesting, but again sounds under-developed.
7. Out Of Tears (6/10) Decent ballad, except that it sounds a little lifeless and at 5:30, is too long by at least a minute.
8. I Go Wild (5/10) Midtempo rocker never really builds to anything.
9. Brand New Car (5/10) Another midtempo song. It's silly (do we really need any more songs where cars=sexual innuendo?), but it does have a cool little groove.
10. Sweethearts Together (4/10) Another slow song. This one can't decide whether to go the country route or not and ends up just sounding like an idea never fully developed. Another lifeless performance, too. Were they going for a breezy Jimmy Buffet sound?
11. Suck On The Jugular (3/10) Another midtempo thing that goes nowhere fast. Really stupid, too. Just ends up in the repeated refrain of "all get together and feel all right." Total throwaway.
12. Blinded By Rainbows (4/10) The harpsichord reappears for another ballad. The chorus is okay, but by this point in the album, it just drags.
13. Baby Break It Down (5/10) Yet another midtempo song. Parts of it recall Exile-era. But the performance is lifeless and again, this just sounds undeveloped. Another could've been...
14. Thru And Thru (3/10) Another Keith ballad. And at 6:00, it's too long. By this point in the album, is anyone still awake?
15. Mean Disposition (4/10) Uptempo song that kind of harkens back to the '60s again. Not bad, but again, sounds tossed off and unfinished. After an hour of snooze... does it even matter?
16. The Storm (5/10) Midtempo bluesy number. Not great, but better than most of the album tracks.
17. So Young (5/10) Uptempo bluesy number. Again, not stellar, but has more life than most of the album.
18. Jump On Top Of Me (5/10) Midtempo rocker. Not bad, not great.
19. I'm Gonna Drive (5/10) Another midtempo rocker. Again, not great but better than most of the album.
So, overall, more than any other album, this is a snoozer. Despite the good start, it quickly devolves into slow tempos and under-developed material. Most people consider Dirty Work to be their lowest point, but even that album keeps the tempo up and rocks some.
Voodoo Lounge might have been salvaged if they'd cut 6 or 7 songs, replaced them with some of the b-sides and kept it a short 10 song/42 minute album. Unfortunately, this is just... the worst, to quote Keith."