Monday, June 24, 2013

Rolling Stones 48: GRRR!

With their usual impeccable timing, the Stones took the easy bait of celebrating fifty years as a commercial commodity by commencing a variety of anniversary celebrations. Only ten years after their previous career retrospective—with just one studio album in between to add to the pantheon, unless you count the completed songs added to Exile and Some Girls, which we don’t—the band’s catalog was anthologized again in the form of GRRR! We still can’t decide what’s worse, the title or the cover, though we’re tempted to call it ZZZZ… instead.
Of course, it was made available in several configurations—a double-disc with 40 tracks, a triple-disc with 50, and a super deluxe version with 80 tracks on four discs, plus a bonus disc with the five songs from their first demo session, sounding identical to the bootleg that’s been out there, complete with pops and speed fluctuations. (And because it was considered the cool thing to do, a vinyl EP offered four songs from a BBC session. Here’s a stupid idea—why not offer the two new tracks, the demo tracks and the BBC tracks on their own as a single disc? Anyone?)
Because Forty Licks did a pretty decent job of summarizing the band already, it’s our duty to inform that the two-disc version lacks eight songs, the three-disc five, and the five-disc three from that collection, the common three being the three of the four 2002 songs. Of course, GRRR! in all its permutations offers two, count ‘em, two new songs. “Doom And Gloom” makes some clumsy rhymes and references to foreign wars, but it’s tough to worry over Mick “eating dirt [and] living on the side of the road” when you’ve shelled out $125 for the super deluxe edition of his band’s eleventh hits collection. “One More Shot” is a little better, since it sounds more like a stock Keith riff and you can actually hear Charlie’s drums.
GRRR! rates as high as it does because of the quality of the music, some of the best rock ‘n roll, really, of the last fifty years. Any of the three versions should satisfy anyone looking to add a pile of Stones to their CD racks if they don’t have any yet. But the mind reels as to what might happen come 2022.

The Rolling Stones GRRR! (2012)—4

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