navigation bar reviews
Subscribe to our news update
CDs Navigation
ticket hotline

Book your gigs now
0870 1 663 663
Or click to book online

Search Reviews


Sign up

Latest News

Fans raise cash to allow Marillion to record new album
JJ72 announce instore shows to coincide with album release
Wonder Stuff confirm third London date
Goldie lays into Finley Quaye
The Quarrymen reform for one-off gig

This Month's Pick

The best sounds from the last four weeks

1998s Top 50

Top 50 Albums 1998
Top 50 Singles 1998
Top 50 of 1999

1990s Top Albums

The greatest albums of the 90s

Top100 Albums

The top 100 albums of all time

Singles Archive

All the songs under the sun under the microscope

Click here to see Wycleff Jean video


Bridges To Babylon
(Virgin/All formats)

Check out the back catalogue

TO CALL the Stones dinosaurs three years from the end of the century is to put tyrannosauraus rex and his Jurassic associates to shame. It will quite clearly take more than a meteorite the size of Mars landing on Earth's surface to do away with this lot.

But in a world where even U2 - mere striplings at the time of their debut album, just as the Stones were rallying for their last truly great moment with 'Undercover Of The Night' - are beginning to look tired of playing the PopMart stadium game, back come the Zimmerframe twins and their goodtime cronies yet again with a shiny new album and word of another colossal live assault on the world's pockets.

A staggering 34 years into their recording career it feels, on the strength of 'Bridges To Babylon' (let's not ask, eh?), like the Stones have pretty much seen off the curse of age-old pop group reality (fame, backlash, wilderness period, solo comeback, obscurity). Here they are happily bumming fags and busking away at the blues in some place far beyond reality, where their Darwinist take on rock'n'roll survivalism pretty much makes them untouchable.

As you'd imagine, then, it's business as unusual. We're provided with the occasional heaps of boogie freebasing - marshalled expertly by Don Was - and just the odd sparkle of a diamond. The single, 'Anybody Seen My Baby?' must have been a relief to radio programmers worldwide, bearing in mind Mick Jagger's recent declaration that he's been getting into 'ambient reggae'. It's a no-frills shuffle in the spirit of 'Waiting On A Friend', but amidst the Keef-ola shambling that surrounds it ('Flip The Switch', 'Too Tight', 'Out Of Control', all of which aspire unsuccessfully to the drunk-at-the-fretboard racket of 'Start Me Up') there's some bizarre brilliance. 'Saint Of Me' marks a bastardised return to (yes!) the quasi-religious rebel hues of 'Sympathy For The Devil', complete with Billy Preston pounding away on the organ. Keef's gospelised croon on 'Thief In The Night' is oddly charming, whilst 'Might As Well Get Juiced', distorted into a howling blues steamroller courtesy of the Dust Brothers, even sounds (whisper it) contemporary.

Simply in terms of being a Stones album - and there seems little else to compare it to, really, when you consider they've been a band longer than all of Ash have been alive (possibly) - it is, in parts, near-revelatory.

So what if Mick inexplicably barks, "I've got a toothbrush, mouthwash all that shit" during the turgid 'Flip The Switch'? He's entitled to the occasional multi-billionaire foible. Plus, at the close of the final track, Keef, marvellously bullshit-free throughout, gives up on all pretence of being anything other than an ancient relic and, to the sound of a solitary piano, whispers, "How could I stop?" to let us know he'll be a Stone 'til the day he dies.

When you come across the oldest, biggest most legendary animal in the rock'n'roll jungle in a mood like this, the only thing you can rightly do is call it sir.


Paul Moody

Check out the back catalogue

Back to the top

Got a story? E-Mail Interested in advertising on Call Amy Cosslett on (020) 7261 6233

© IPC MEDIA 2000. All rights reserved.
Use of this site is expressly subject to the Conditions of Use and, in the event that you wish to order items advertised on this site, the Terms of Service .


Tom McRae
All Saints
Wyclef Jean
Baby Elephant
Roni Size & Reprazent
Chris Mills

Latest News

Atari Teenage Riot
Jimmy Page And The Black Crowes

This week's singles
Sonic Youth
Oasis/Happy Mondays
Alice Cooper
Gone In Sixty Seconds


The Carling weekend - Reading / Leeds
At The Drive-In video interview
Wyclef Jean video interview diary
Napster survey
Festival Guide

A-Z Of Reviews

A-Z Navigation

-We recommend-
Electric Music