Reviews

The Rolling Stones “Hackney Diamonds” Album Review

Hackney Diamonds

The Rolling Stones

  • Genre: Rock
  • Date: 20 Oct, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Track(s): 12
  • A Polydor Records Release; ℗ 2023 Promotone B.V., under exclusive licence to Universal International Music B.V.

The Rolling Stones &Quot;Hackney Diamonds&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, April 20, 2024

The Rolling Stones are a British rock band. Their 24th British and 26th American studio album, Hackney Diamonds, was released on Polydor on October 20, 2023. The album includes appearances by former bandmates Bill Wyman, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Steve Wonder, and Elton John as guests. It is the group’s first studio album with original songs since A Bigger Bang in 2005. Drummer Charlie Watts passed away in 2021 but still contributed to a few songs in 2019. Thoughts on the album were generally positive, with several reviews describing it as the band’s best album in decades. The album showcases the Rolling Stones’ ability to seamlessly blend their classic rock sound with contemporary influences, resulting in a fresh and dynamic collection of tracks. Critics praised the band’s musicianship and songwriting, highlighting the standout performances by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Hackney Diamonds also received recognition for its diverse styles, from bluesy ballads to energetic rock anthems, demonstrating the band’s versatility and enduring relevance in the music industry. Overall, the album solidifies the Rolling Stones’ legendary

Music videos, singles, publicity stunts, and merchandising featuring global fashion retail pop-ups and cross-promotion with multiple sports teams were used to promote the release. The album showed the group’s distinctive sound while adding new components, proving their ability to develop and remain current. The band’s place as rock icons was cemented when fans and music aficionados lauded them for their ongoing inventiveness and passion. The band’s history in the music industry was further solidified with a highly successful release that sparked enormous expectations and excitement among new listeners and longstanding fans.

Album Art

The Rolling Stones &Quot;Hackney Diamonds&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, April 20, 2024

The album cover features two red limbs on either side of a diamond-studded heart being struck into two by another diamond blade. The retailer-exclusive version features a fractured diamond heart encircled by crimson limbs, while the limited edition vinyl LP cover art features a mass of eyeballs and tongues. The design of the album art is an enthralling blend of surrealism and luxury, with the diamond blade standing in for strength and the diamond-studded heart for riches. Including red limbs gives the composition a fascinating hint of mystery and intrigue. The captivating display of eyeballs and tongues on the limited edition vinyl LP cover art makes a daring artistic choice. It inspires curiosity and can even allude to deeper introspection within the music.

Tracks And Features

“Angry,” the first single and first song, aims to demonstrate that the Stones can still rock, roll, and strut with style. At best, the band sounds like geriatric rockers in their 50s rather than their 80s, with blues licks upon blues licks and unexpectedly young snarls from Jagger. Mick Jagger has been a spoiled child for 60 years, so his poutiness over being publicly seen comes across as utter arrogance. The sarcastic first song, “Angry,” serves as the parents’ theme song, reminding everyone how hard they’ve worked, how little gratitude they receive, and why he’s “off to Brazil” and “still taking the pills.”

Using distorted guitar stabs and pounding rock drumming, later tunes like “Get Close” and “Bite My Head Off” aim to achieve similar effects. “Close” him before he sees him skulking through the night, “the press strapped to my back,” restless and promiscuous. Grungey bass accompanies the energetic four-minute punk patrician track “Bite My Head Off,” which has a lively melody that conjures up images of a dad slamming his fist against the steering wheel to the tune of Paul McCartney, who wrapped out his McCartney trilogy perfectly. For a fuzz bass solo to sound even slightly challenging, Sir Paul McCartney must blow out his amplifier.

Jagger threatens to leave for Morocco or the corner bar in “Driving Me Too Hard.” Then, he starts using neologisms to characterize his tears, displaying his emotional distance and anxiety over labelling his feelings. Jagger’s desire to express his emotions uniquely and unconventionally By using these newly coined words, he adds an element of creativity and depth to his lyrics, capturing the complexity of his feelings. Furthermore, this deliberate attempt to appear dull could reflect Jagger’s struggle to understand and articulate his emotional state fully.

But there’s a strange smoothness to these songs that prevents them from striking the same note as “Classic Stones.” Even though it was expertly sung, the band’s most well-known song had a certain looseness and grit, as if it would collapse at any time. It gives those tracks incredible energy, along with Jagger’s snake dance. The shine of studio excellence paradoxically takes away the band’s magnetism. That was a Beatles performance. The chorus of a song often introduces an unwanted element; this may be heard in the Brit-poppy song “Whole Wide World” or the disco-influenced song “Mess It Up.” A surprising number of safe songs emerge from the process, which might be attributed to factors such as excessive compression, quantization of the takes, or some miracle elixir that keeps Jagger energetic during his elderly years.

Rollin’ Stones’ interpretation of Dreamy Skies’ by Muddy Waters and their tear-jerking country atmosphere will make them late-night favourites for deep cuts. Jagger hides out in a rural bolthole “where there ain’t no other human for a hundred miles” to cut wood, listen to Hank Williams, and find “some peace from the storms” while singing along to the campfire folk tune “Dreamy Skies” on a slide guitar. With a melancholy rendition of “Tell Me Straight,” Richards enters the stage and laments their deaths. Immersed in a cosy alt-rock sound akin to Band of Horses, Sun Kil Moon, and the Exile on Main Street-esque country honk of Dreamy Skies, Keef’s instinct-driven track is 24-carat Stones.

After that comes “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” which may be The Rolling Stones’ most significant swing since 2000. The penultimate track, which features both Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga, is a towering, gospel-influenced song that peaks at almost seven minutes and is masterfully composed, sung, and epic in every way. The cleverly titled “Sweet Sounds of Heaven” culminates in a brilliant, classic soul keyboard solo for Stevie Wonder, who hasn’t been seen much since receiving a kidney transplant in 2019. Meanwhile, on ‘Sweet Sounds Of Heaven,’ where Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga contribute to soaring gospel vibrations, producer Andrew Watt (who donned a different Stones T-shirt for every session) is an adept facilitator and cheerleader.

Regarding “Get Close” and “Live by the Sword,” Elton John plays the piano like a toy soldier. Live By The Sword, one of Charlie Watts’ two posthumous appearances, finds Bill Wyman reuniting with Charlie Watts. Richards and Ronnie Wood tear through gritty glam and blues rock riffs like guitarists half their age. And instead of muttering reflective wisdom gleaned from a rock’n’roll life mid-winddown, a la Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan, Jagger cries and howls about blurry nights, media intrusion, and relationship problems like a twentysomething A-list celebrity. Charlie Watts was featured on “Mess It Up” and “Live by the Sword,” recorded before the musician’s demise. This will probably be the final time that Jagger, Wyman, Watts, and Keith Richards are heard together on a single album. The latter also features Bill Wyman, the band’s founding bassist, who left the group in the ’90s.

The stunning song “Driving Me Too” describes the strains of a relationship testing one’s sanity. It’s Springsteen’s “Glory Days” after 12 more bar-room Buds and packing the jukebox with Traveling Wilburys songs. To end the show, Mick and Keef play an earthy rendition of Rollin’ Stone by Muddy Waters. The band’s catchy drivetime rock song “Whole Wide World” sheds light on the loneliness that was the leading cause of their early tabloid notoriety.

While exploring his old haunts in London, Jagger reminisces about their bed-hopping lifestyle during the mid-1960s, when they were rock and roll outlaws covered in “the smell of sex and gas” and lived in “the filthy flat in Fulham.” They were unwelcome guests of the authorities and felt cut off from their real friends and lovers. The butterfly’s testimony after it broke on a wheel is the last one. Towards the end of Hackney Diamonds, Mick Jagger delivers a classic Rolling Stones line: “Let the old still believe that they’re young.”

Tracklist

NO TITLE ARTIST TIME
1 Angry The Rolling Stones 3:46
2 Get Close The Rolling Stones 4:10
3 Depending On You The Rolling Stones 4:03
4 Bite My Head Off The Rolling Stones 3:31
5 Whole Wide World The Rolling Stones 3:58
6 Dreamy Skies The Rolling Stones 4:38
7 Mess It Up The Rolling Stones 4:03
8 Live By The Sword The Rolling Stones 3:59
9 Driving Me Too Hard The Rolling Stones 3:16
10 Tell Me Straight The Rolling Stones 2:56
11 Sweet Sounds Of Heaven The Rolling Stones & Lady Gaga 7:22
12 Rolling Stone Blues The Rolling Stones 2:41

Album Summary

With Jagger’s incredible vocal push remaining completely unaltered, Hackney Diamonds feels like a self-aware, historically conscious party. The Rolling Stones returned to their roots in blues rock two decades ago. Mick Jagger is no longer trying to keep up with the latest styles; the boys seem happy enough to play the hits and accept their status as iconic members of the classic rock genre. As a giant in rock music history, the act has largely avoided breakups, protracted tour hiatuses, and excruciating live performances. In short, they are in a class of their own. Thus, an album that pleases fans and maintains their unbreakable history is a huge success. Hackney Diamonds maintains this reputation most of the time by deftly downplaying their age and demonstrating that they still possess a hint of the blues. And really, what more could fans possibly want from a band that has already produced more than five canonical classics?

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