Goddess in the Doorway
It is rather pointless to do a review of a new Mick Jagger album. A critic’s role, at least by some opinion, is to aid and guide the listener into making informed choices when deluged with new releases, to perhaps open their ears to something that they would have missed otherwise. There is no chance that anyone would miss this release. Jagger has always celebrated a new record with a media extravaganza — long form videos, tours, and for this album, a feature film. Anyone who has ventured out of the house, or turned on a TV knows that Mick Jagger has released a new record.
The question is, why?
The Rolling Stones have been performing longer than the majority of their listeners have been alive. They have played with every notable musical figure of the last 30+ years, and have achieved acclaim (well-deserved acclaim, mind you) for what they have created. The keyword? They. The Rolling Stones are no more, and no less, than the combination of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. While Keith manages to make solo records that are raucous, lively affairs, Jagger’s have always been bland, faceless bits of product that only the most diehard Stones fan can claim favor for. This one is no exception. He gathers some of music’s hottest names- in this case Lenny Kravitz, Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20, Joe Perry, Pete Townshend, Wyclef Jean, and Bono. At least their names are on the credits. Other than the recognizable voice of the U2 frontman, you don’t feel the presence of any of the other notables. Maybe Mick just liked hanging out with them.
So, the question still remains: Why does Jagger record on his own? Does he need money? Doubtful. Simply the T-shirt concession from the last few tours is most likely enough to keep up his jet-set lifestyle- even factoring in various court judgments along the way. When it’s all tallied up, I don’t think Jagger’s solo records make much money for whoever is putting them out — not once the most likely large upfront money is paid to Mick and the expenses are raked off. The luster of having the frontman of “The world’s greatest rock and roll band” on your label is probably the only payback you get.
So, perhaps he has burning statements he wishes to make, vital themes he needs to discuss. He did give the world “Street Fighting Man” and “You Can’t Always Get Want You Want,” after all. “And her tears flow like a fountain/Like a river from the mountain” (“Goddess in the Doorway”). Nope. That ain’t it.
None of us will ever begin to know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes, least of all someone like Jagger. We will never know the motivations that spur him into anything. But perhaps it comes down to something as simple as boredom, coupled with an enormous ego. Jagger had been the personification of rock and roll for so long — and he is a brilliant showman, no doubt — that he has perhaps grown to miss the warmth of the spotlight. That makes some sense, I suppose. So every once in awhile he trots out a vanity project that feeds the egobeast. Fine. One hopes, for his sake, that he doesn’t expect anyone to take it seriously. Because there is truly nothing here to hear.
Mich Jagger: http://www.mickjagger.com