The Rolling Stones roll back the years with ‘Angry’, but should they?

The Rolling Stones have rolled back the years with their first new single in nearly two decades, ‘Angry’. Unfortunately, they’ve only rolled the years back to circa 1986, when Dirty Hit saw them wheel out the ‘classic rock’ playbook and fall foul of lukewarm platitudes.

Caught up in the fanfare and the magnetic frolicking ways of Sydney Sweeney in the music video, the single stands up as an exciting bit of riffage, but when the dust settles, and the dazzle of showmanship subsides, you’re left assured that they’ve still got it—’it’ being the unrivalled ability to make a behemoth spectacle out of something distinctly average.

That is not to say that the single is without merit; it is perfectly fine in a sort of Stones by-numbers manner. It conjures a bit of youthful vigour from even the most dower listener, which is no mean feat for a band who are all pushing 80. But once that perk-up of tried and tested (and then some) tricks for musical invigoration fades, what is left to mull over with ‘Angry’?

The vintage footage that runs throughout the video says it all: ‘Remember when we were cool?’ The lack of sentiment in the lyrics typifies this grab of the past. Thus, its triumph and travesty are obverse faces on a coin: the song remains the same.

It’s a little bit of fun, but at this stage, we’ve had most of the fun we can stomach from The Stones, and I’ll be damned if ‘Angry’ gets a cheer comparable to one of their classics when they hit the road.

The Hives recently made a cracking point in the promotion of their own latest record: “There’s no maturity or anything like that bullshit, because who the fuck wants mature rock ‘n’ roll? That’s always where people go wrong, I feel. ‘It’s like rock ‘n’ roll but adult,’ nobody wants that! That’s literally taking the good shit out of it. Rock ‘n’ roll can’t grow up, it is a perpetual teenager.“

So, it comes to pass that you have to either respect that notion with something notably wry about your rock ‘n’ roll formula, a self-aware wink of sorts, or switch to something more mature. ‘Angry’ doesn’t quite do either, and as a result, its pleasing pick-me-up ways quickly succumb to corniness. It aims to thrill but merely titillates, which, in time, exposes the sin that there’s nothing much to it bar the same borrowed and rather tired blues riff. But hey, at least they just about invented borrowing it.

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