Launching around the flat in a fit legally described as dancing while blasting Mrs. Vandebilt is not the productive move down south first envisioned for someone needing a closer café. But pushing into autumn with Band on the Run after a delicate experience of Cool Brittania revival has listeners clawing for those who inspired the likes of Pulp and Blur. Look no further than the return of The Rolling Stones, or at least their re-entry into the recording studio. Living in a Ghost Town did happen, and it was forgotten to make way for Angry and the rest of their sparkling Hackney Diamonds. Still reeling from the death of the late, great, Charlie Watts, the Mick Jagger-fronted group has nothing left to prove but still hit out with great strengths on this latest single.
As boisterous and confident as to be expected from the late-stage Rolling Stones, Angry is just that. Something to get angry with, but also a song to get angry about. Jagger and his reliance on electronic manipulation is a shame considering the strengths of his vocal performances in live sets and earlier material. It adds very little to the light opening credits of a comedy movie from the mid-2000s feeling filtered throughout this piece. Don’t get angry with him, though. Jagger and company are trying their best to lift spirits in a dark period but Angry is the streamlined set they hope to achieve with such cliché-ridden riffs and hooks.
Pleading for peace in a time where the provocative lack of urgency is clear as day marks Angry as a real stickler. A true middle-of-the-road track not worth listening to again. The Rolling Stones feel themselves shift gear, they do not rev the engine and pursue their fellow legends who kitted out their late-stage discography with hits and bits of truthful work as David Bowie did or Paul McCartney does. Instead, there is a disgruntled shove back, a bit similar to the work of current Guns ‘n’ Roses, a worrying manoeuvre to capturing the glory days which passed decades ago. Still, Jagger and the gang can still hold a tune, although this one is of no extremes. Palatable, sure, but not the bone-crunching terrors of their heyday, nor a rewarding experience for those looking on, keenly, waiting for the next and potentially final surge of energy from a great group.
The Rolling Stones’ spirit seems to have died with Watts, then. Angry is as middle of the road as it gets for a rock group whose peak was decades ago and those behind the monumental works are gone or deflated, leaning back into this mellow post-fame glory. Jagger and friends are still as acclaimed as they always were, but Angry does little to inspire. It’s an annoyingly dud start to the Hackney Diamonds, which feel awkwardly unpolished and difficult to stomach. Clunky and charmless at the worst pockets, but there will always be leeway from the mega fans who are provided a sample of gruel. The Rolling Stones may be unable to capture the energy they had in their youth, but they cannot present a new alternative as the likes of Bob Dylan, John Cale and Nick Cave can. The Rolling Stones boom forward to unlock the next steps of their career but realise they forgot the key all too late.