A Bigger Bang

Studio Album by released in 2005
A Bigger Bang's tracklist:
Rough Justice
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Let Me Down Slow
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It Won't Take Long
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Rain Fall Down
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Streets of Love
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Back of My Hand
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She Saw Me Coming
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Biggest Mistake
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This Place Is Empty
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Oh No, Not You Again
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Dangerous Beauty
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Laugh, I Nearly Died
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Sweet Neo Con
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Look What the Cat Dragged In
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Driving Too Fast
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Infamy
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A Bigger Bang review

In 2005, given their advanced age and the seemingly endless trajectory of their rollercoaster career, it is hard to believe that the Rolling Stones would have energy enough to remain standing, much less create an album of new, inspired, and vital material. But the World's Greatest Rock Band have been challenging assumptions since their earliest days. Ever the consummate salesman, Mick Jagger has tried all kinds of big bangs over the years to sell concert tickets, from riding a gigantic phallus on stage, to sending a blimp with a huge lips logo on it across the New York skyline. But for this fall's tour, he and Keith Richards have done something that surprised even the most skeptical critics: they've put out the Rolling Stones' first great album in at least 25 years. With 2005's A Bigger Bang they return to classic form with all guns blazing. These dinosaurs come back to life like the teenagers they were when they started out. They would probably even have hits on the radio, not something you could say since 1980's peripatetic Emotional Rescue' or 1981's Tattoo You.

For starters, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are writing together again, and the album's 16 songs show a return to the revved-up, bluesy sound of the immortal Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street. Like those albums, this one bears potent doses of raw Chicago blues (Back of My Hand), honky-tonk balladry (This Place is Empty), mid-tempo melodic rock (Let Me Down Slow), simmering soul (Laugh, I Nearly Died), barnstorming rock (Rough Justice), and disco grooves (Rain Fall Down), but what impresses most is how energized and fierce the band sounds, with churning rhythms, rollicking guitar riffs, and Mick yowling like it's 1971. Jagger's voice is as good as it's ever been and better than it has been for a long time. It's clear, resonant, evoking equal parts danger, braggadocio and wistful regret.

Leading up to the making of A Bigger Bang, produced by Don Was, Mick Jagger endured a very public break-up with Jerry Hall, Charlie Watts battled throat cancer, and Ron Wood was devastated by the news of his ex-wife's suicide. Out of their collective struggles, the members of the venerable British rock band managed to piece together some of their best work in nearly two decades. What distinguishes A Bigger Bang is that it captures the Rolling Stones simply being the Rolling Stones, playing without guest stars, not trying to have a hit, not trying to adopt the production style of the day, not doing anything but lying back and playing. They have finally accepted that they truly are grown men. For once, they don't seem concerned with competing with pop stars a third their age; instead of playing it slick, they've made their most homemade-sounding album since Some Girls. With A Bigger Bang the Rolling Stones delivered a strong, engaging, cohesive album that finds all members of the band in prime form.