Steve Wilson. On music.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rolling Stones - One More Shot ... Old Devils Not Yet Dead, part 2

“One More Shot” is the other new song on the Rolling Stones’ most recent hits collection Grrr!

It appeared approximately one month after the October 11th “release” of the first track leaked from Grrr!, “Doom and Gloom.” You can tell that “Doom and Gloom” was conceived of and labored over as the A-side, so to speak. I reviewed “Doom and Gloom” previously. As you can see, I liked it

But for all its comparative production modesty I’m not so sure I don’t prefer “One More Shot.” As Bryan Ferry (see: Jerry Hall, file under rock irony and heartbreak) sang “throw away lines often ring true.” Despite its constructed ambition “Doom” also exposes some of the chinks in the late Stones’ armor. The politically tinged quality of some of the lyrics sounds forced, even insincere, and lines like “sittin’ in the dirt, feelin’ kinda hurt” sound less remarkable by the day. Okay, I still dig the track - but as a Jagger initiated number it suffers slightly from his merely formal emotional engagement. And where a song like ‘Salt of the Earth’ may have been stubbornly ambivalent, “Doom and Gloom,” for all its energy can also sound facile.

 Basically a Stones pastiche, “One More Shot” by comparison sounds unlabored and direct, but oddly, convincingly desperate. The band, unencumbered by some of “Doom’s” textural ambitions, is just straight up Stones, which is to say originating from, driven by Keith and Charlie. 

The opening chords, descended from “Street Fighting Man,” grab your attention with strains of memory. Then, Charlie Watts plays that pickup into the downbeat as only he can – light, fleet, and funky fat all at the same time. The songs’ groove is also frankly reminiscent of AC/DC’s “You Rocked Me All Night Long,” which is testimony to the whole circularity of rock ‘n’ roll influence. Where Angus and company hit the ‘one’ with a certain authority, there’s a beautiful, dirty familiarity to the way the Stones ease into the same beat. 

There’s also a dash of ‘Little T & A,” as Keith recycles another of his moves. An observation like this once sent a certain kind of rock critic, one expecting the constant thrill of novelty, into paroxysms of accusation and despair. I’m over it. Rock ‘n’ roll is essentially sex. Novelty is swell, but if you have a move that satisfies repeat the motherfucker. 

One critic observed that “Doom” was Mick’s rock and “Shot” was Keith’s roll. Simplistic, but not altogether wrong. Keith’s rhythm guitar drives ‘Shot,” but with the warp and sway to liberate Charlie’s rock swing, whereas “Doom,” swell as it is, reduces Charlie to timekeeper.