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Tuesday, 19 September 2023

THE ROLLING STONES, ANGRY

The Rolling Stones are old. The Rolling Stones are ageless. People say they should hang it up and retire. People say they’ve never sounded better live. What some people fail to realize is that The Rolling Stones aren’t just rock stars. They are working musicians. They make music. And now they’ve just made their first album of new music in 18 years.

The first single from the soon to be released Hackney Diamonds is “Angry.” While it doesn’t quite come across as punchy as the title might suggest, perhaps because Mick is wondering why someone is angry with him, rather than being angry himself à la “Street Fighting Man.” It’s a minor issue, because the song rocks. Mick is in great voice with Keith and Ronnie’s guitar work driving the tune forward.

Speaking of driving, that’s the concept (or part of it) for the video. A red Mercedes convertible cruises down the Sunset Strip. Hanging out of the back seat, air guitaring and singing along is actress Sydney Sweeney of Euphoria and White Lotus fame. The vehicle passes Rolling Stones billboard after billboard with each one coming alive with concert footage of the Stones in various stages of their careers.

The video was directed by François Rousselet and was inspired by photographer Robert Landau’s 2016 bookRock ‘n’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip. Back in the day, an album release meant a billboard on Sunset and the Stones definitely had their share. The video is an entire Stones takeover of the strip featuring 109 billboards, with each one coming alive through footage of the Stones in various stages of their careers. The graphics have a feel of each era as well and the Stones of that time period sing and play “Angry.” We don’t just see Mick, Keith, and Ronnie. We also get welcome glimpses of Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman, along with an entire board featuring the late Charlie Watts.

The hard work that director Rousselet put in on the back end, finding clips of just the right moments of the band looking like they are playing or singing the right lyrics, suspends the disbelief that this song wasn’t performed in past concerts. “Hey look! It’s Keith from Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones!” It’s seamless enough to reinforce many of the current reviews of the song calling it the Stones best work in 40 years. It’s hard to believe that only takes us back to 1983, while some of the footage is from the early ‘70s. Is it a classic? Perhaps not. Is it a tune worth listening to? Absolutely. And combined with the video, it proves once again that The Rolling Stones have found another way to defy time and age.   

- Daniel Gray

Written by  Daniel Gray
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