Bridges to Babylon (2009 Remaster)
The Rolling Stones' studio albums take a great deal of planning. Each effort is an attempt at tapping into their eternal riffs and then adjusting the balance towards modern production concerns. Voodoo Lounge was tight and concise (for a 15-track album). Bridges to Babylon is their attempt to update their sound. The core, however, remains strong. “Anybody Seen My Baby?” is structured around a flawless hook (subliminally pinched from K.D. Lang’s “Constant Craving”) and features an unusual, strategic rhythmic breakdown leading to its breathless conclusion with Mick Jagger at his dramatic best. “Flip the Switch,” ‘Low Down” and “Gunface” represent primal Stones, quick with the riff and a shuttling rhythm section that always sounds as if it’s about to come apart, but never does. Keith Richards takes over for three cuts, including the reggae-rocker, “You Don’t Have to Mean It” and the smoky closing ballad “How Can I Stop.” The Rolling Stones’ best days may be behind them, but they’re still working at great capacity and capable of glory.