Voodoo Lounge

The Rolling Stones

Virgin Records, 1994

http://www.rollingstones.com

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/11/1998

After more than a decade of subpar albums and huge tours, the "greatest rock'n'roll band in the world" decided to get together and forego the sampling of new musical tastes in favor of returning to their earlier, stronger material. While Voodoo Lounge cannot replace Beggar's Banquet or Exile On Main Street, it is perhaps the strongest that Mick, Keef, Ron and Chuck have been in a while.

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The first single, "Love Is Strong," features some nice wordplay from Mick. "You Got Me Rocking" is a straight rocker that shows the band can still do it--as does "Sparks Will Fly." "I Go Wild" is probably the raunchiest the Stones have been since they sang about a certain young black girl. It's like they decided to return to the small bars and play the stuff parents would hate unless drunk. (Meaning it's fun.)

On the slower side, you got the basic ballad ("Out Of Tears") which is good as ballads go. Better still are Keith's two songs, "The Worst" and "Thru And Thru." They gain a stronger level of emotion from his raspy, destroyed-by-everything-he's-put-in-there voice. There's also "Blinded By Rainbows" (a social statement that isn't half bad) and "Baby Break It Down" (which is also good).

There are a few missteps. "Sweethearts Together" is so sappy it's not funny. (The fact that both Mick and Keith sing it together doesn't make it funnier either.) "Suck On The Jugular" sounds like they were trying to test their new bassist Darryl Jones--while the wordplay is good, it's not that great. Then there's those mediocre songs ("Moon Is Up" and "Brand New Car.") While they might be making a statement on growing old, it's better if you either accept it or deny it completely.

By the way, the CD does end with an extra track, "Mean Disposition." While some may feel a need for it, it isn't something to fret about. It's alright.

If you're a diehard, pay-300 bucks-a-pop, Stones fan, you'll appreciate the album for trying to return the Stones to their bluesy roots. If you're a new fan, it's a nice starting off point. But the band has done better and if they tried harder, maybe they'd release their magnus finale opus and not fade away with middle-of-the-road albums. (I just noticed I used a lot of hyphenated terms, sorry). Voodoo Lounge is a good album. But if you're the "greatest rock'n'roll band in the world," expect the bar to be a lot higher than just "good."

Rating: C+

User Rating: B-

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© 1998 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Virgin Records, and is used for informational purposes only.