Bridges to Babylon (1997)


 
1.Flip the Switch 2.Anybody Seen My Baby 3.Lowdown 4.Already Over Me 5.Gunface 6.You Don't Have to Mean It 7.Out of Control 8.Saint of Me 9.Might as Well Get Juiced 10.Always Suffering 11.Too Tight 12.Thief in the Night 13.How Can I Stop

 

By the time the mid nineties had arrived and there was talk of a new Rolling Stones album, the question was never "What will the album sound like?" but rather "Are they going to go on tour again?". The Rolling Stones made touring such a unique spectacle in the past couple of decades that any news of them hitting the road would shadow anything else that they had going on at the time, including a new album that they were now only releasing every 3-5 years.

In this case, that was a big shame because this album is easily the best thing these guys had done in over fifteen years. Of course it didn't help that radio was changing in such a radically different way. Even MTV never played music videos anymore. So ask anyone who says "they like the Rolling Stones" to name a few songs off this album, you're bound to get a blank stare and an unresponsive answer. This album picks up where Voodoo Lounge left off, finding them experimenting new contemporary sounds without leaving their trademark stamp behind.

Two of the best examples are the hip-hop influenced Anybody Seen My Baby, complete with a mid-song rap, and the heavy synth-bass I Might As Well Get Juiced. They haven't left their classic sound behind, though. Take the song Saint of Me. This is easily the BEST song they've done in probably of couple of decades. A real shame that not many haven't heard of it. Gunface is a bit political, but has a great catchy chorus. Songs like Out of Control and Flip the Switch show us that while some of sounds on the album are new, some elements of this band will never change.

Keith Richards actually sings on three tracks on this album, and even though all three are wonderful (Keith is never disappointing when at the mike), the only drawback of the album is that it might have too much Keith. That may seem a bit of an oxymoron since his songs are a nice deviation, but here it's almost too much of a good thing. The last two tracks, Thief in the Night and How Can I Stop, he croons in his raspy nightclub voice that really sort of kills the momentum of the album. Again, that's o.k if it's an occassional interlude, but when these two songs are a combined eleven minutes, and they close the album, well, it makes you wish they would have just picked one, and let the album end there.

For all fans who still go to the shows but stopped buying everything after Tattoo You, you need to pick this one up. You'll be pleasantly surprised.


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