'Forty Licks' isn't the best conceivable Stones' compilation, but it isn't just a commemorative anniversary celebration either. There is little to criticize for the first C.D. They don't mess around. They start with "Street Fighting Man," "Gimmie Shelter," and "Satisfaction" with enough confidence that they won't run out of great material. Good call. They do smart things. They kick out "As Tears Go By" and "Out of Time" which are dated period pieces and put in better songs like great early R&B favorites like "The Last Time," "It's All Over Now," and "Not Fade Away". (Subjectively, I love sides one and four from 'More Hot Rocks' because I love their early songs like "Fortune Teller" and "Poison Ivy".) Every sixties classic is represented. Who can do without "Get off My Cloud," "19th Nervous Breakdown," and "Paint It Black"? There's just so much fun.
The second C.D. is where problems come in, but, in all fairness, it never falters enough to spoil the party. All the post sixties classics are represented well enough, but some of the new songs are welcome, but not all great enough for this fine collection. "Don't Stop" is good, but not great, Stones. "Stealing My Heart" would make a good track for an original C.D., but is merely decent here. Subjectively, the closing song, Keith Richards "Losing My Touch" and the earlier "Keys to Your Love" are engaging updates for the Stone's legacy, an enjoyable modern addition to their catalog. (The jazz-club atmosphere is a likable change for the Stone's repertoire.) I personally like lesser songs like "Mixed Emotions," "Undercover," and "Emotional Rescue". It's great for those of us who didn't get the original albums. The second C.D. really holds up for all the classics. You can't call a C.D. that has "Tumbling Dice," "Happy," "Brown Sugar," and "Start Me Up" overly flawed.
'Forty Licks' is a great ensemble with many satisfying moments. It is a fine showcase with a few assembly flaws that don't really damage a fine listening experience.
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John L. Peterson (JP_Rocky_Raccoon)
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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The band that proclaimed itself "The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World" has long since represented rock's most overarching confluence of art and commerce--with a distinct emphasis on the latter in recent decades--a notion this 40-track, five-decade-spanning anthology can't completely escape. While this is the first anthology to gather hits from the band's entire career, it's the early tunes that highlight one of the Stones' central ironies: virtually their entire "bad boy" reputation was built working for The Man. That original '60s musical arc bounded from '50s rock and R&B revivalism ("Not Fade Away," "The Last Time") to anti-Mop Top aggression ("Satisfaction," "Get Off My Cloud," "19th Nervous Breakdown") to proto-goth cynicism ("Paint It Black," "Have You Seen Your Mother Baby") and psychedelic minstrelsy ("She's a Rainbow," "Ruby Tuesday") to the epitome of blues-based cock rock ("Street Fighting Man," "Jumpin' Jack Flash") in quick succession. Wresting control of their own destinies--and future copyrights--at the end of the '60s, they'd spend the next 30 years largely recycling their earlier incarnation ad infinitum--their music sprinkled with occasionally successful forays into contemporary club and disco fodder ("Some Girls," "Shattered")--and resting on their well-paid laurels. Unfortunately, the listless quartet of new tracks that flesh out this collection seems little more than another business deal to hype their 2002-03 world tour, with "Don't Stop" arguably ...