Shine A Light: Sometimes, dark is better
J. Gordon
6/3/2008 6:21:16 PM

It was 1978, we were fifteen, the Beatles had broken up years before and we’d decided to love the bad boys now: the Rolling Stones. We’d grown up with the solid hits of Made in the Shade and we took our chances with Metamorphosis (an experiment that didn’t exactly work). Still, when Love You Live came out we were fully on board, in line for hours for concert tickets and screaming along every single word. So, when Some Girls dropped, everyone went crazy. From the artwork (this insane, changeable series of Hollywood faces with pictures of wigs), to the daring step into Disco with “Miss You” (Disco? But we hated Disco!), the beauty of “Imagination,” and the punky fun of “Shattered,” the Rolling Stones were artists through and through, always trying the next thing, playing with the newest sound. Mick Jagger was as sexy a bad boy as rock and roll got, strutting that skinny little body and those big lips in a way that profoundly shaped adolescent sexuality at large and gave ugly boys hope.

This year, filmmaker Martin Scorsese decided to do something a little different and make a documentary of his favorite rock band, the Rolling Stones. About twenty years older than this writer’s generation, he claims in the soundtrack liner notes that he never saw them live until the 70s. So why he would want to film them now—when they are croaking out the old tunes badly, when their sexuality is a joke and every new tune just sounds like another version of “Start Me Up,” is beyond us. But he’s made this mediocre film on a once-great band that’s now mediocre themselves, and it’s got this soundtrack of mediocre live recordings to milk that cash cow a little further.

Let’s not beat around the bush: this CD is bad. No, wait. I mean, it’s BAD. Guest stars Jack White (on “Loving Cup”—a song no one would listen to by any artist), Buddy Guy (on “Champagne & Reefer”) and (vomit) Christina Aguilera (on “Live with Me”) do not save it.

Recorded in 2006 at New York’s Beacon Theater, Mick Jagger sounds bored, and why wouldn’t he be? I mean, come on! He’s played the same damned songs for thirty years! “Shattered” is a joke, with absolutely none of the energy. “As Tears Go By” is ghastly by any stretch. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is tired.

Live albums are always a risk. They almost never match the magic of the originals—and that’s in the best cases, when musicians are at their peak. Adding insult to injury, the CD is “protected” so that it doesn’t even play in your computer. Not like you’d want to.

The way I see it, Mick Jagger must have done something to Martin Scorcese, and this is his revenge. If that’s the case, it’s a good one. He’s destroyed my last shred of affection for these over-used sell-outs. Couldn’t they have retired with a little bit of dignity? Couldn’t they have left the scene as artists? That would have been so cool.

Ah well, we still have our memories…

DELUXE VERSION - 2 disc set, featuring 22 tracks with expanded packaging. Includes every track from the film, plus four bonus tracks from the shows that were not included in the film


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