Wednesday, August 10, 2005

There's No Fool Like an Old Fool

"The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band." No question about it, they always were and always will be the best. The Stones, more than any other band, always knew what Rock was all about. Up tempo blues that relied on Keith's devotion to the art, and Mick's over the top preening to set the standard by which all other band's are measured.

But, man are these guys stupid.

Keith was always a bit of a joke. Immensely talented, truly the heart of the band, and by all accounts a good guy as well. We snickered at his excess, and adored the riffs that powered the songs of the Stones. In spite of the running jokes about his drug abuse, we held Keith in high regard and knew that the Stones would never have been the Stones without him.

Mick was the jerk. Without Keith he would have taken the band over the edge a long time ago and fallen prey to whatever trendy impulse appealed to him at the moment. A man of deeply questionable judgment - Jerry Hall? Bianca? The latest pregnant Brazilian fluzy? - Mick always held the unenviable position as the rock star we'd be least likely to emulate if we found ourselves in the same position. Never has the admonition to "shut up and sing" been more appropriate for a rocker.

The last two decades haven't been kind to the Stones. While they remain an entertaining arena act, due mostly to the excellence of their early song writing, the catalogue of songs on such disasters as "Steel Wheels", and "Bridges to Babylon" has been imminently forgettable. One wonders that if these efforts were put out by other bands would anyone have noticed?

Probably the greatest of the band's attributes through the years is that the Rolling Stones wisely avoided being overtly political. Whether this was a shrewd marketing decision, or silent recognition of artist's unique ability to embarrass themselves before the public with their overly wrought, ill considered political opinions, doesn't really matter. They kept their mouths shut, and rocked in the adoration of fans who loved their songs.

Apparently they've decided to change things a bit. Hopping on the lefty bandwagon, The Stones have decided to attack President Bush in one of their new songs, "Sweet Neo-Con". Ignoring the fact that Bush is not a neo-con, Jagger has produced some real genius with the following:

"You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of shit."

A fan just shakes his head in wonder. Forget the political statement for a moment, and tell me this - can you imagine a more sophomoric set of lyrics? At best we'd expect something like this from a band of say Greenday's stature, and most likely would find lyrics of similar quality in the journal of an over wrought high schooler.

There was a lot of talk leading up to this CD that Mick and Keith had gone back to their roots and produced a more bluesy effort that was reminiscent of some of their early work. While I was skeptical I did allow myself some hope that they had one more good, if not great effort in them. I'll withhold judgment until I hear the tunes, but right now things don't seem promising.

Shut-up and sing Mick.

UPDATE: Mick woke up this morning and realized conservatives buy a lot of Stones CD's. What a dumb ass. He's gone from Old Fool to Pandering Old Fool. Oh, those lyrics? Even more sophomoric than previously imagined.
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