Reviews & Spotlights

Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds

There is a long-standing joke and Internet meme that suggests Keith Richards is going to outlive us all. While that may be a stretch it is quite true to say that Keef and his long-time Glimmer Twins partner Mick Jagger have just made another recorded statement that will go a long way in securing their musical immortality. Yes, Hackney Diamonds is that good! Depending on who you talk to this is The Stones' best work in thirty or forty years - besting or equaling past praised platters like Tattoo You (1981) and Steel Wheels (1989).

Just how they did this so far down the line in their famously fabulous career is due to a combination of events and choices that have resulted in The Stones sounding as fresh and relevant as they ever have. First, this is their first album of all new original material in 15 years so they have had a lot of time to think about it. Next, the 2021 death of drummer Charlie Watts served as a wake up call to the band that time is passing - and probably soon running out. So, they wanted to get back in the studio to prove they were still up to the task. Finally, they brought on the in-demand and hot young producer Andrew Watt who was eager to use his skills to help bring the patented Rolling Stones sound up-to-date for a new generation of listeners.

Like the two previous albums mentioned that gave us the memorable openers of "Start Me Up" and "Sad Sad Sad" this one too begins with the strong emotional plea of "Angry" - a rollicking and rockin' number that begs for domestic tranquility. While that sentiment is something you might expect from an octogenarian - something that both main members of the band will soon be - there is really no hint of the pair being anything less than youthful rock and rollers at heart to be found through the album's next ten tracks.

"Get Close" has a modified disco groove that recalls the best of their Some Girls era. "Depending On You" conjures up memories of the "Waiting On A Friend" video with its "sharing a smoke on the steps of a bar" line. Sure, that was a time when Mick and Keith's friendship was actually about to go into the gutter for a decade. But, happily for fans of The Stones their greater appreciation of each other's talents more recently has resulted in this pearl of an album all these years later.

Hackney Diamonds is all killer and no filler especially when they show sharpened skills on "Live By The Sword" complete with hand claps and the extended breakdown on this timeless cautionary tale. "Tell Me Straight" is another fine addition to Keith's greatest Rolling Stones hits in its straightforward and low-key way.

Many special guests abound on the album but it's Lady Gaga's glorious appearance on "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" that raises the level of the proceedings to other-worldy. The Stones only show their age when they pay homage to the old bluesman Muddy Waters who gave the group their name with a cover of his "Rolling Stones Blues". Still, that is very much on purpose as Keith and Mick close out the project as a duo with just vocals and guitar keeping the authentic and rough around the edges feel of the original.

If this is the last time we ever hear from the Rolling Stones they have gone out in style and have left no stone unturned and unshattered in their effort to return to the top of the pops. But, rumor has it that there is another full-length album's worth of material from these sessions. So, it appears they still have more time to shine if they can get another batch of gemstones to the marketplace in a timely manner.

Related Links: For more information on THIS REVIEW please visit the following links - Review by Rockin' Rich Lynch | Rolling Stones


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