I really didn’t expect much from the new Rolling Stones’ album, Blue & Lonesome.
To tell you the truth, it was only a perverse desire to confirm how out of touch, stuck in the past Rolling Stone magazine was for listing it as seventh of the “50 Best Albums of 2016” that led me to listen to it at all.
Much to my surprise, I kind of enjoyed it.
In the New York Daily News, Gersh Kuntzman dismissed the album as a “cash grab” . . . based on a press release. Without even hearing the album, he also pronounced it “lazy” because the Stones recorded it in just two days. Yes, it’s lazy, but in a good way, although I’d use the word relaxed instead. The Stones clearly still love the blues that inspired them to form the band in the first place. And this has a welcoming “campfire” feel of them sitting around playing some favorite obscure songs by their inspirations (even if the production is often more a hi-fi approximation of lo-fi than actual lo-fi).
I still would not put Blue & Lonesome in my Top-10 for the year. Nor my Top-50, even though I doubt I could come up with a list of 50 new albums worth remembering this year. I doubt I’ll remember this album in a few weeks. Unfortunately, the same easy feeling that makes the album so pleasant while it is playing also makes it easy to forget once it is over.
Perhaps that is why one of the album’s few more upbeat songs was chosen as the album’s first single, accompanied by such a manic video featuring Kristen Stewart: