Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge (1994)

images (1)From sputnikmusic.com

With the CD wallpapering the racks during the previous four years or so, it was only going to be natural that Voodoo Lounge became the Stones’ longest recording. In the moment it was also their most successful in terms of grossing revenue from a supporting world tour. It’s true, one of the world oldest continuing bands still, at this point, had plenty of firepower and generational gravity to bolster its success, whether or not it came from one of their less memorable releases.

And with a tasty bite sized opener like “Love is Strong”, why would you question any of this? After all, any album this group releases will mostly like chart-top following the weeks after its offering, even if a third of its listening populace take a few months to grapple new-coming technologies. Despite having such a commercial sensation, the album falls short of their magnum opuses of previous decades. Not necessarily musically, but mainly through its bothersome conceptuality and lack of definitive direction.

After bassist Bill Wyman’s departure following 1989’s Steel Wheels, the band were left little more than his melting rubber. And while they’d (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in particular) force themselves not to admit it, the effects to a degree, overshadow the album’s nude, back-to-basics approach.

There’s most likely more instrumentation here then other records, even its successors, but it’s as sparse as the fifteen tracks could lop back — an attempt perhaps to fill a missing member’s square hole with a round peg? Still, the roots-rock doesn’t fail them on many occasions such as “Love is Strong”, “You Got Me Rocking” and “Sparks Will Fly” — three upbeat embellishments which open the album as if were meant to be a late 70s classic. Afterward, the feel diminishes and is only revisited via the exits of “New Faces’” acoustic prettiness, Out of Tears’” reflective mourning piano, and “I Go Wild’s” boisterous eccentricity.

“Thru and Thru” is the final shimmer and thankfully a track that leaves a few resounding moments of value at penultimate fourteen. Cutting the fat there would have sufficed, though so could the negating at least four other unnecessary tracks; take your pick really. Possibly out of a desire to make amends of apparent loss in colour after the 80s tension, the band finds themselves tinkering with musical assortment until they’re ironically mixed into dull shades of grey.

The familiar faces of the accordion/organ/saxophone/trumpet all leave their marks between the weaving rock & roll of Richards’ and Ronnie Wood’s chordal guitar licks — somehow a tin whistle managed to make the cut this time — Jagger mingles with his raspy throat while having his usual percussive (tambourine/maracas) flourishes shake his can. It sounds well enough to be everything rolling alongside the Stones, but in fact it’s merely the erosion catching you off guard.

You’ll be left listening waiting for a possible moment of clever clamouring, but instead all you’re left are a few groovy well-rounded tracks, another few that they’ve done before more vigorously in the previous thirty years, and finally a whole lot more that are just too overly self-indulgent for their own good.

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March 21, 2013 - Posted by | The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge |

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