If you’ve never ever been a Rolling Stones fan – and, really, if that’s the case: what is wrong with you? – then perhaps the band’s 50th Anniversary will make you fork out for a three-disc set of hits highlights. No? Hmm, why are you reading reviews about The Rolling Stones then?
I definitely think the 50th Anniversary of this band is something of a milestone. I love The Stones.
But I have already loved my way through Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass), Rolled Gold, Rewind, Hot Rocks, 40 Licks, Sucking In The 70s, Licks Live, Rolled Gold+, The London Years, Solid Rock, Jump Back, Rarities 1971-2003 and another half-dozen compilations.
My favourite Rolling Stones compilation will always be Rolled Gold - it’s the one I heard first, it was my introduction to a world of amazing music. But 40 Licks and Hot Rocks have surely collected up everyone else that needs to be gathered in to hear this music, right?
Most disappointing about Grrr! is that it lazily updates the idea used for 40 Licks, in that it celebrates the anniversary at hand with that exact number of songs. In ten years we’re expected to believe that 10 more songs deserve to be added to the best of the Stones’ hits – and yet there’s still no time for anything but the obvious from Goat’s Head Soup.
Actually, that’s not even true – most disappointing about Grrr! is a tossup between that fucking stupid title and the fucking horrendous cover. No actual Stones fan could want that in their collection.
There’s no denying the great songs assembled here – other than the fact that you have them all already. If you want them. And, yes, you should a) want them and b) already have them.
Hey, but there’s two new songs. So that is actually what’s most disappointing here – because these aren’t for new fans, this is a nasty way of making the old faithful fork out to hear them. And they’re shit. Trace-around plodders. Like almost everything that has come from the band in the last quarter-century. The Rolling Stones are amazing, incredible, vital, beautiful and ugly, resilient, powerful, transcendent and whatever else you want to throw at them. But they haven’t written a song that’s needed to exist since Steel Wheels. And yes, I’m aware that’s being (very) generous.
This is a horrible thing to happen, this hits collection. The intentions behind it are beyond cynical, almost nasty. The title and cover are just embarrassing. The two new tacked-on songs are turds that didn’t flush. (And won’t wash). Please ignore this compilation.
[Grrr! is what Charlie Watts has been muttering under his breath for 50 years]