So, the Stones are back with their first album of new music in 18 years, and the first since the death of Charlie Watts. Hackney Diamonds is set for release in October, but to tide us over, they’ve dropped the first single, “Angry,” with an accompanying video which is…well, perfectly in keeping with the Stones.
As Mick counts down to a shredding riff from Keith (reminiscent of “Start Me Up”), we see a hot young blonde in black leather, riding down Sunset Boulevard on the back of a red sports car (with the obligatory tongue logo on the hood). The car cruises past various vintage Stones moments projected onto billboards, where the new lyrics are cleverly integrated into old footage.
The blonde (actress Sydney Sweeney, who is apparently a Big Thing, but this writer has never heard of her, another indicator that time is indeed passing), lip-synchs along, flips her hair, gyrates, and all the rest. A friend notes, “I don’t know how I feel about 80-year-olds doing a Whitesnake video,” and that’s perhaps an apt summary.
But it’s perfectly in line with the Stones’ six-decade legacy as the avatar of Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll. Having seen a few interviews with the band in the run-up to the album release, I almost find this a better option, as ridiculously obvious as it is. While Mick is still the showman, and Keith and Ronnie are masters at what they do, I’m not sure I want to see another video starring them. Here’s why.
For those of us of a certain generation, the last few years have been brutal as we’ve lost rock hero after hero. Prince, Petty, Bowie, Eddie Van Halen, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, Robbie Robertson, Charlie Watts, Christine McVie – those are the first to come to mind, and I know I’ve missed some. The touchstones of our youth are aging and dying, something we never imagined would (really) happen.
Not to us…
So, for the Stones to embrace this youthful image – decidedly tongue (pun intended) in cheek – is the little boost that we need. Seeing those moments from Stones’ history brings back great memories. Overall, the video is a reminder of a time when we were young, stupid, and pretty. And, as a woman, I’m not ashamed to admit I wouldn’t mind having Sweeney’s 20-something ass again.
Plus, the song is kinda bangin’. It’s basically two chords, with plenty of crunch courtesy of Keith and Ronnie, and juicy bass/drum lines. As he did on “Sympathy for the Devil,” Keith handles bass, and Steve Jordan — personally recommended by Charlie as his replacement “should anything happen” – deftly lays down a groove.
“Angry” is pretty much the Stones’ stock in trade but done with a depth of experience you won’t find in many other places. Keith once noted that rock should have no expiration date. Like the old blues guys he admires, he wants to see how far he can explore and take the music (short of turning into a Fat Elvis-era lounge act).In recent days, I’ve watched the “Angry” video several times. Despite the lyrics bemoaning relationship issues, the song and video have a certain joy. And it makes me happy that Sweeney, aka Tawny Kitaen 2.0 may bring some new listeners into the Stones’ orbit, showing how great rock can still be made even when you can’t wear black leather without looking desperate.
-Photo: Fair Use image from the “Angry” video