Voodoo Lounge (1994)


 
1.Love is Strong 2.You Got Me Rocking 3.Sparks Will Fly 4.The Worst 5.New Faces 6.Moon is Up 7.Out of Time 8.I Go Wild 9.Brand New Car 10.Sweethearts Together 11.Suck on the Jugular 12.Blinded by Rainbows 13.Break it Down 14.Thru and Thru 15.Mean Disposition

 

After the success of the Steel Wheels album and tour, the band kept the momentum into their next release, which ironically didn't come out until about four years later. Bill Wyman is now gone, he retired after the Steel Wheels tour. The band was now a foursome, even though Daryl Jones handled the Bass guitar for them on pretty much a full time basis (keeping him a "non-member" probably meant the guys could get a bigger piece of the pie by splitting the money four ways instead of five).

This album is dynamite in many places. The sad thing is, like many releases on compact disc, this one tends to have a lot of filler - and the filler here is quite subpar. This is sad because it takes what could have been an incredible release and brings it down several notches. What's more frustrating is that this filler is spread out throughout the whole album. Had it been more concentrated, it could have been a little easier to separate the wheat from the chaff. Just as you start to get into a groove enjoying a couple of good cuts, a turkey comes along. Using producer extraordinaire Don Was, this album definitely stretches the boundaries, and at time they almost sound….well…mature.

The first cut, Love is Strong, is the best thing here. With its heavy bass groove, you almost have to wonder if they're paying tribute to Bill Wyman. Or maybe they're telling him they don't need him? Also in the "excellent" department are the ballads Out of Tears and Blinded by Rainbows that sound almost political - something these guys aren't well known for. Keith, as usual is in fine form with his remorseful The Worst. The only thing bad about this track is it's less than two and-a-half minutes in length. He also delivers the oddly chilling Thru and Thru which is bit of surprise because that song doesn't sound like it should work, but for some reason it does, and it works well. They keep their sense of humor on Brand New Car, which is actually a pretty funny song with its double entendres all about. Baby Break it Down is refreshing, since its sounds a lot like classic Stones.

At times, though, they experiment a bit too much and it takes them to waters better left uncharted. Moon is Up is almost a throwback to their psychedelic days with a harpsichord running through the whole song. Sweethearts Together is probably the worst song this band has ever recorded with it's bubble gum fifties sound. It even features an accordion. Yes, that's right, an accordion. Other songs also miss the mark a bit. You Got Me Rocking is o.k., but it sounds a bit too much like If You Can't Rock Me from It's Only Rock 'N Roll and Suck on the Jugular, even with its nasty title and lyrics has far much more bark than bite.

The best thing, though, is that they proved that their long awaited reunion of a few years ago was not a one time del. They were here to stay as long as they could, and they continued to be successful. This is just one of those times when less could have definitely been more.


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