Blue & Lonesome review by The Rolling Stones

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  • Released: Dec 2, 2016
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.5 (33 votes)
The Rolling Stones: Blue & Lonesome

Sound — 9
As if the band needed an introduction. "Blues & Lonesome" is the 25th album for living cultural legends The Rolling Stones, their first in 10 years. Although not a work of originals but rather a covers album, "Blue & Lonesome" sees the band dive completely into their own zone. The trappings of the current music industry have been completely disregarded: nothing fancy, just five men in a room jamming their favourite blues classics.

The live band rig is all one really needs for this musical direction. So little could go wrong and pretty much nothing has. A flawless, crisp air on the mix, the old school plate reverb of Mick Jagger's croon, raw and dirty drums, it all adds up to this authentic experience that is incredibly difficult to find in this day and age. The feeling is that they used the most of the room sound available to them to recreate as involving an album as possible.

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It is pretty difficult to point out a flaw. Performance wise, it sounds as if they could all be in their prime albeit with the years of honing their abilities bolstering it all. Everything from Keith Richards' raucous lead playing to Watt's joyful sticksmanship to long time bassist Daryl Jones backbone of grooves is exactly as it needs to be.

Perhaps there's some fault in the song reel itself?

While the tracks are all bone fide classics, the overall movement from one song to another can feel somewhat blurry. Slow burners that are not very strategically punctuated by up tempo boogie tracks is the general setup of things, although it depends on what your listening preference is really.

Overall, it's a straight blues album that does what it needs to do, just the band engaging in fun without the tangible oversight of commitment or distraction.

Lyrics — 9
Mick Jagger is Mick Jagger, one of the most immediately recognisable vocalists that has ever existed, hyperbole be damned. But it's true: very, very few alive today could claim such a position.

And as much as critics, fans and non-fans may joke about how pretty much everyone is in their early '70s and on the edge of falling apart at any second, Jagger very confidently proves that that's not going to be the case. You can hear it as his vibrant warble breaks through the space in between: there's just so much more life to go.

Lyrically, it's a blues album filled with blues classics. Distinguished classics, songs that you can just follow along and listen then know the mood that the song is meant to give. A surprisingly difficult challenge as it turns out but one that Jaggers performance surpasses. He even manages to hit the high squeaks and peaks like the original blues legends, Howling Wolf and the like, surprising given how human biology likes to screw itself over in the audio department at older ages.

Overall Impression — 9
The Stones are the Stones and there's very little that should have or has changed. A top notch performance done in an authentic, honest setting between friends is a dream setup for pretty much any musician, one they make the most of.

Good to have you back, boys.

Songs to look out for: "Blue & Lonesome," "Ride 'Em Down," "Little Rain."

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26 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Bands don't make shit selling records anymore so those claiming this is a cash grab are just flat out wrong. Seriously, you think the Stones need money?? Did you see the numbers from the last tour? Take it from an old guy, just because you pass 40 or 50 or 60 doesn't make you any less of a musician. You sure don't feel any less, and you sure don't want to play any less. More power to them.
    I find it slightly disturbing that there are so few comments or interest in this review. Are people not listening to this, ITS THE ROLLING STONES! We are damn lucky to still be hearing from these giants of Rock! They were only one of the most crucial elements to everything we call rock and roll now period. Take a listen folks, there's music history and lessons in these blues covers that the Stones have burned through with a intensity few can match
    I pretty much stopped listening to them after Mick Taylor left the group. Why they would hire Ron Wood and leave themselves without a real lead player is a mystery to me, but probably has to do with Keith's ego. This is pretty good, better than any of their original stuff that I have heard since Exile. These guys were amazing back in the sixties and early seventies. Beggars Banquet and Sticky Fingers were as good as anything anyone did. I still listen to them a lot. But the creative fountain seems to run dry eventually for everyone. The Stones proved they can still make an album of covers that's pretty good. But can they still make one of their own songs?
    Considering that the album is apparently going to be UK No. 1 when this week's charts come out, it's pretty clear that people are listening to this As they should.
    I just think we have a massive back catalogue to find better original material so it doesnt really light up my eyes to see a new Rolling Stones covers album. I'd rather spend time finding new music that has a good future to see where that band goes.
    Listening now. Man, Blue and Lonesome is one heck of a track. You new guitarists should take a listen. Definitely has that dirty vibe like Exile.
    That Ride Em On music video is the best thing I have EVER seen.
    you know I was thinking to myself, why have I watched this video so many times already, haha - something captivating for sure
    Well, 10 years passed since last album and it is shame that they did not put out any new song. Album of covers worth millions of dolalalalars...
    They're working on new material iirc, it's apparently half-completed by now.
    10 more years, maybe...
    My God, they've released about thirty studio albums and you're still gagging for more from them? Not to mention they're mostly twenty years older than yourself, let them pace themselves eh? They don't owe you shit.
    When did Keith Richards start playing lead?
    Listen to Beggars Banquet. The only guitar Brian Jones played was the slide on No Expectations...everything else - including the classic solo on Sympathy for the Devil - is Keith
    in the sixties try looking at old vids, Brian Jones played mainly slide and just about any instrument he could get his hands on. Keith always classed it as weaving between 2 guitars. Keith played fuzz bass on Aftermath and later releases
    This album is just fun, they're having a good time jamming and I think it really translates on this. Love it