Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mick Jagger 4: Goddess In The Doorway

After a fairly successful renaissance of the Stones for the close of the century, Mick decided it was time for a solo album. For his fourth time out he seemed to have grasped an idea of what would justify a detour from his regular band, but that doesn’t mean he should have bothered. Goddess In The Doorway finds him as obsessed as ever with sounding contemporary, tapping younger talents (we’ll get to those) but still relying on guitar work here and there from the likes of Joe Perry and Pete Townshend.
“Visions Of Paradise” is guilty-pleasure pop, a collaboration with the guy from Matchbox 20, so we’ll blame him for the less convincing parts. Bono is brought in for “Joy”, which relies mostly on two chords with a few diversions, and slathered with a gospel choir for that faux-spiritual feel. Something about “Dancing In The Starlight” sounds like we’ve heard it twice already, but it does have a killer chorus. “God Gave Me Everything” is basically a one-man Lenny Kravitz production with Mick singing, but then it’s followed with the mild modern R&B of “Hide Away”, which Keith might have made more reggae were he allowed to; instead we get Wyclef Jean. “Don’t Call Me Up” is the sensitive ballad with a title that sounds too familiar, and subject matter to match.
Besides being inscrutable, the title track suffers from a edgy pace and Mideastern touches already overused by Sting. “Lucky Day” isn’t too far removed from “Anybody Seen My Baby”; that this dance beat reminds one of a Stones track might define irony if we still knew what that was. “Everybody Getting High” is just plain stupid, as is the hurt posturing in “Gun”. “Too Far Gone” isn’t too bad, except that he opens by stating he doesn’t like nostalgia, then goes on to lament how the modern world has paved over his youth and technology has all but obliterated nature. A decent editor might have helped him get his message straight. “Brand New Set Of Rules” seems to suggest that he’s matured somewhat, on a track that’s better than the lyrics. (Two of his daughters are credited on backup vocals; presumably they’re the ones adding the “ooh-ooh” parts in the middle?) For some reason a “cocktail version” of the title track is hidden at the end, which actually sounds more interesting than the real thing.
This album notoriously got five stars in Rolling Stone magazine, an accolade seriously undermined when you consider it came from the highly suspect “journalistic integrity” of Jann Wenner. Clearly a favor was being paid, because this was hardly the apex of the man’s life’s work. Mick is very good at one thing, and that’s not to say that he’s a one-trick pony, but he’d be better served by trying a real departure from the average if he wants respect outside the Stones. Goddess In The Doorway isn’t embarrassing, but it just doesn’t make it.

Mick Jagger Goddess In The Doorway (2001)—

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