The Rolling Stones - Doom and Gloom [digital single] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Rolling Stones

Doom and Gloom [digital single] (2012)


In order to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the greatest rock and roll band of all time is releasing a 50-track greatest hits album with an absolutely atrocious cover. Also, the title is atrocious. Seriously, when did gorillas ever have any connection to the Rolling Stones at all? Why does the title of the release have to be reduced to the basest of all emotives, an ambiguous, and slightly gross, GRRR!? This either represents the dumbing down of pop culture or an attempt to pull collective consciousness upwards through abstraction. I hope its the latter, but if it is, I've been too dumbed down myself to get it.

But still, the new collection features two new tunes, with the lead off single being "Doom and Gloom." While marketing may have macheted the group into bizarre imagery, it's heartening to see that the band, who might hate each other these days, still can bang out kickin' jams…and if reports are to be believed, ones that were written and recorded in six days, to boot.

With 2006's way extremely underrated Bigger Bang the band embraced the concept of the Stones having a "classic sound" and for the first time cut a release that was rooted mostly in what people thought the later-day Stones were instead of what they actually were (as seen by 1997's fairly experimental, but dull, Bridges to Babylon). The band continues the concept of classic Stones on "Doom and Gloom" and it's clear why. The Stones aren't the Rolling Stones because they are the Rolling Stones, the Stones are the Rolling Stones because they frickin' rock. Still.

The song is rooted in Keith Richards' blues-rockish guitar lines. Surprisingly, the riffs are simple, but snappy and fresh sounding. Their angularity sounds to similar to the stomping simplicity of 1981's Tattoo You, but the warm tone sounds more akin to classic '70s Southern rock/country honk Richards. Its a new connection of the master guitarman's sounds that we haven't heard before and it sounds fantastic.

Likewise, Jagger is on top of his game. As I mentioned previously in my review of The Brussels Affair, contemporary critics have bizarrely taken to bashing Jagger. That trend continues here, and for the life of me, I can't fathom why.

On "Doom and Gloom," Jagger's voice has grown deeper and fuller. Finally, he is howling like the Chicago bluesmen he emulated waaaaaaaaaay back in 1962. His delivery is as energetic as it is loose. He barks as much as he sings, creating a distressed but wild persona. Frankly, he sounds great.

The lyrics are among some of the most political that the band has done. At one point, Jagger harps on international fracking. On another, he laments overseas conflict. But, the most interesting part of the lyrics is the sonic contrast. While the song sounds upbeat, Jagger repeatedly decries an oncoming apocalypse, all while making moves on a nearby lady. The Stones have covered sex and apocalypse in the past, but they haven't ever mixed them together. Like GRRR!'s cover, the combination is bizarre and ghoulish, but unlike the compilations image, it also makes perfect sense.