SuperHeavy, ‘SuperHeavy’ – Album Review
Jagger commits fully to a shared role in this all-star project, sharing mic time almost equally with pop-soul singer Joss Stone and reggae star Damien Marley.
The instrumental and songwriting contributions of Eurythmics star Dave Stewart and Indian composer A.R. Rahman further tilt the whole record heavily into reggae and pulsating, electronic world music, far from the bluesy rock and roll of the Rolling Stones.
And yet, Jagger, who of course has explored reggae and other styles both with and without the Stones before, is right at home amongst the deep grooves and whirring, buzzing keyboards on this record.
He's clearly, at least, the first among equals in this group, effortlessly commanding your attention every time he takes the lead. Still, his performances always seem to enhance, rather than outshine, their work.
Of course it could just be that his co-stars, all accomplished in their own worlds, are up to the task. Check out the skill and confidence with which Marley drops his verse into the slow, sultry late-night lament 'One Day One Night,' only to be followed by Rahman's otherworldly keyboard solo, which pulls things off the streets and into outer space.
If you're strictly looking for familiar Stones sounds on this record, there's only going to be a few highlights for you -- the absolutely gorgeous Jagger spotlighting country-rock ballad 'Never Gonna Change,' the 'Steel Wheels'-ish rocker 'I Can't Take It No More' and to a lesser degree, 'I Don't Mind.' The later is a keyboard-driven duet that finds Stone backing off from her sometimes overwhelming delivery and using more subtle vocals to nice effect.
But if you're up for checking out the frequently interesting results of this highly unique patchwork of talent, there's some cool stuff to hear, such as Mick and Damien trading high-speed raps over a techno beat during the upbeat 'Energy,' and the soaring, anthemic song based on India's national motto, 'Satyameva Jayate.'
Sometimes things seem a bit busy, or glossy, and occasionally you get the idea they thought "Oh, we better include ___ in this song somehow," but when everything and everyone does fit together, like on the smooth but sultry "Rock Me Gently,' it's pretty easy to buy into SuperHeavy as a group concept.
Well, at least until Jagger slyly slips that famous 'Miss You' falsetto of his into the mix at the end of the song, and intentionally or not, reminds everybody who the boss really is.
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