The Rolling Stones – Nostalgia at what cost?
Upon writing this review, ‘Grrr!’ – the album which marks the 50th Anniversary of the godfathers of rock ‘n’ roll’s formation – sits at number three in the official midweek chart. Competing with new releases from heavyweights past and present, (Rod Stewart and One Direction) does this offering rekindle a mythological time when London was swinging and the Rolling Stones were musical gods, or just part of a futile attempt to recapture the band’s former glories?
The Stones’ familiar legacy of adolescent waywardness is currently enjoying a renaissance with the back catalogue being discovered by a whole new generation. With the steady drop feeding of rare photographs and previously unseen interviews, as well as their biographical documentary ‘Crossfire Hurricane’, there’s never been a better time to release an anthology of their best offerings, old and new. ‘Grrr!’ on its announcement was widely criticised for being yet another arm of a lucrative military-style marketing campaign and with only two new tracks amongst 48 past classics (78 if you go for the super-deluxe edition) it’s easy to see why.
Though their new tracks, ‘One More Shot’ and ‘Doom and Gloom’ sit comfortably amongst the familiar stadium rock belters; the latter as NME’s Mark Beaumont described as a “Gimme Shelter for the Wii generation”, for me doesn’t compare to either the fire or melody of 1969 classic – but does it need to? Track listings are largely made up of the more commercially notable 60s output and outnumber those released in the last twenty years 6:1. For this reason ‘Grrr!’ offers the better compilation and clearer sense of chronological release than their last effort with 40 licks ten years ago.
So if it’s a comprehensive education into one of Britain’s most important and successful music exports then there has never been a better compilation. But for those die-hard fans well versed in all things rolling stones who wish to avoid a Jacko-like trap of re-release for the sake of two songs, best save your pennies for the grossly over-priced tour later this month. If you can get a ticket that is.
Apologies to Joshua Dedman. His excellent review of the Rolling Stones, which appeared in issue 4 was not accredited to him. Apologies from The Founder!