Keno's ROLLING STONES Web Site
A BIGGER BANG
Released: Sept. 5, 2005 in Europe and Sept. 6, 2005 in the USA & Canada
Produced by The Glimmer Twins & Don Was
Mick Jagger -
Lead & Backing Vocals; Guitar
& Slide Guitar; Bass; Harmonica; Keyboards; Percussion
Darryl Jones -
All songs written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
(Click on song for lyrics and song personnel)
|SONG||2005 RATING||2019 RATING*|
|Let Me Down Slow||9.3||7.0|
|It Won't Take Long||8.1||7.2|
|Rain Fall Down||8.3||7.0|
|Streets Of Love||8.5||7.1|
|Back Of My Hand||10.0||9.4|
|She Saw Me Coming||8.8||8.5|
|This Place Is Empty||8.0||6.8|
|Oh No, Not You Again||8.9||7.8|
|Laugh, I Nearly Died||7.5||6.7|
|Sweet Neo Con||9.4||9.4|
|Look What The Cat Dragged In||8.6||7.2|
|Driving Too Fast||8.7||7.0|
This is a damn good album, I find myself saying that each
time I play it. At its release, A Bigger Bang
was the most talked about Stones album by fans since Tattoo
You, and stirred up the most excitement since Some
Girls. Some fans have gone as far as saying it is one of their best ever, many more
feel it is their top LP since Some Girls, and
yet others feel it is just average at best. Well, in my opinion (and who elses would
you be reading here), it is their best since Some Girls, maybe even better! But lets be
fair here, Some Girls and A Bigger Bang are two different albums. A Bigger Bang has a bit more rock to it, and has 16
songs, compared to the more mellow Some Girls with
only 10 tracks.
Some Girls was also more of a band effort than A Bigger Bang, with this new release being more a
Mick Jagger and Keith (Keef) Richards effort, with Mick really stepping out front on this
This is one of the best written Stones albums in years. Lets
first take a look at the two best songs on here, its opening song, the rocking Rough
Justice, and the bluesy Back Of My Hand. As soon as you hear the opening
guitar riff to Rough Justice, your know your in for something great. Its
full of all kinds of energy from beginning to end and never lets up. Its been years
since I wanted to play air guitar to a new Stones song, Im glad the drought is
finally over! This is the best overall song on A
Bigger Bang, maybe not my favorite, by still the best. Then we have the Stones finally returning to
their Chicago Blues roots with Back Of My Hand. Okay, this may not be another
No Expectations, but its still great. Jagger surprises his fans by
playing slide guitar on this one, and hes not bad either. Its the first time
he ever played slide before, and claims what you hear on the record just came to him out
of nowhere one day. But lets dont forget his great harp heard on here too,
which helps push this one to the top more than any other instrument heard on the song.
Im sure that Brian Jones spirit is smiling down on this one!
There are a few other great tunes on this album, even if they dont score a ten. Two that are somewhat similar are Sweet Neo Con and Dangerous Beauty, as both have a political bend to them. Sweet Neo Con was the one that everybody was talking about before anyone even heard it; since the Stones let it slip out that this song was anti- George W. Bush. Okay, his name doesnt come up anywhere in the song, and Jagger has stated its about his administration, not him, but I think everybody knows who the Christian being sang about is in this number. After the song was finally released and heard by the masses, a right wing Stones fan and cyber friend of mine declared that Sweet Neo Con didnt live up to its hype and wasnt that great a song. Well, open up your ears mate, is all I can say to that. Now dont get me wrong, if youre a big fan of Bush, you are not going to like the lyrics to this song, period. But dig the music being played here it is very good! This song is tight and although I agree its lyrics are not as strong as they could have been, they are still right on, as far as this liberal goes.
Dangerous Beauty on the other hand is well written and
again, indirectly doesnt shine the best light on the Bush administration, if only
because Private Lynndie England, who the song is about, would not have been at the Abu
Gharaib Prison had Bush not started the Iraqi war; so in a way this could be called an
anti-war song. But damn, and again, too bad Mick didnt write the same kind of great
lyrics for Sweet NeoCon, as what we hear on this tune. Im sure the
Are there any more great tunes on A Bigger Bang? Well yes! The double LPs second song, Let Me Down Real Slow is perhaps its most underrated, with a catchy chorus that sounds great. Again, Jagger shines on this tune, as he does all over the album. Then you have one of the fans favorites, On No Not You Again. Perhaps the lyrics are a bit weak on this one, but it rocks big time, pure modern Rolling Stones music all the way! You dont like this song well then, you dont like the Stones.
There are a few ballads to be found on the album, too, and ballads are one thing the Stones have always done well. Streets of Love, the best of the ballad bunch, was the LPs first single (along with Rough Justice). It seems that Jagger cant win with all the fans sometimes, and this song proves it. Usually many will bitch that they cant understand what it is that Mick is singing, but with Streets of Love, a few fans claim he is over enunciating! Biggest Mistake is another fine ballad that Mick sings to us, with Rain Falls Down coming in last on the ballad list, only because one song has too.
Keef sings the lead on two songs on A Bigger Bang, and this is his best one-two punch in years, in that regard anyway. Still, some of his lead vocals on the last several albums have left little to be desired, so thats not saying much. In fact, I rate This Place Is Empty the second lowest on the LP, but again, it isnt as bad as some of his other past stuff. When ever I hear Keef sing, I think of the Grateful Dead, vocal wise. His gravel-smoked-filled voice would have fitted in with their vocals, not that anybody in the Dead had vocals with their band mates that blended smoothly yet they still sounded okay in a weird way, and that is why I say that about Keef. You can tell that years of cigarette smoking has taken its toll on his voice, yet sometimes it can still sound cool. Just wish he would stop singing these damn crooner songs, yuck! Well most of the time yuck, I dont care when anybody sings in that style, but especially Keef. All of Keefs best songs with the Stones where he sings the lead have been the true rocking numbers like Happy, Before They Make Me Run, Little T&A, etc. On his second lead vocal on the album, Infamy, the LPs closer, he picks up the pace and not only does he sound much better, the song is much better, too.
Is there anything wrong with this album? Yes. What is it with the LPs inner notes? If youre over 40, well your gonna need not only your reading glasses and bright sunlight to read this mess, but a good magnifying glass, too. Not only is the print very small, but the lyrics are laid out in an unusual, hard to follow matter. But I guess I should not complain, since back in the 1960s and 70s, Stones fans didnt get lyrics with their albums. Plus, something is missing from the albums cover and booklet the bands famous trademark, the lips/tongue logo! Yes, you cant miss then inside the CD case, but damn, there goes another Stones tradition out the window with this release.
This is the Stones best double album, there are no filler songs to be found on it, unlike the fan favorite Exile on Mainstreet. Exile may have had several better top songs on it, but it also had some bombs, too. Thats not the case with A Bigger Bang, as even its second tier songs are at least good. But still, is this one too long? Yes, almost all double albums are. Take away its lowest rated songs and make it a single album instead, and you have that much stronger an LP. Why does this almost always seem to be the case with double albums, and why do the Stones feel that they have to record them? Blame it on the extra CD disk space, which wasnt a factor back in the good old days, when bands only released double albums because they wanted to, not because they felt they had to.
Overall, the Stones finally listened to their fans before they recorded this album, and we thank them for that, as the outcome is grand! They sound like the damn Stones again, finally! I personally waited 27 years for the Boys to release another great LP, and this is the one! A bigger bang from the Stones to their fans, for sure!
- Keno 2005
*Old Ratings vs. New Ratings
The oldest ratings that you see above are from back in 2005 when the album was first released. Since time does change one's point of view, I decided to listen to and rate the album again, doing so in January of 2019. Note: I did not look at the old ratings from 2005 until after I placed my new ratings here in 2019. Second note: New review can be found here.
To listen to some sound clips from A BIGGER BANG, or to buy the CD, click here: A Bigger Bang [Reissue]
To read fan reviews about this album, go here.
Return to Stones Album Ratings