Mick Jagger, Primitive Cool (1987)
I first purchased this – when it was released – on cassette tape. I had recently learned all about The Rolling Stones from my older brother and folks. And then Mick Jagger released his new solo album. I had heard She’s The Boss – and liked the singles. I’ve got a vinyl copy of Primitive Cool I picked up – I think from Real Groovy? – there are a few jumps, but no mind. I know this album inside out. I thrashed the cassette tape. And I had it, briefly, on CD. It was one of the most self-conscious CDs in my collection (I wasn’t self-conscious about it; I actually believe the CD was self-conscious about itself). Fuck this is a great record – even if it is rooted in the time when it was released; anchored to 1987. Man, I was still at primary school listening to this. What a fuckin weirdo. But I won’t budge. This album is great. It’s worth it just for Jeff Beck’s playing. It’s actually one of Jeff Beck’s best albums. There’s a phrase on the title track (well, several actually) that only Beck would play. There are some great solos (that burst during Shoot Off Your Mouth) from him – it’s a shining example of Beck in the support role. And, outside of Beck’s contributions, Jagger sings/writes some great songs. Side two, track one, when he spits out that line about “friends who are snakes in the grass”. Fuckin take that Keef! (And take it again, later on Shoot Off Your Mouth). Okay, so it might not seem like much (especially now) but the Jagger/Richards feud was great. It was the Megapowers exploding – long before Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage (R.I.P.) even worked together. Jagger and Richards both released solo albums that were better than any Stones album between Tattoo You and A Bigger Bang. What’s that? Steel Wheels you say? Fuck off, it’s okay but Primitive Cool is a better album. If Jagger and Keef and Bill and Ronnie and Charlie had (somehow) recorded all of the songs for Primitive Cool instead of what became Steel Wheels it would have been a better album. Primitive Cool is a better record, even so. It is the most vital Mick Jagger ever sounded and felt on record since It’s Only Rock’n’Roll. And in and around some basic rock songs and stock ballads it has the pretentious strain that so suits Mick. It’s never been only rock’n’roll to him. Primitive Cool was neither/never primitive nor cool. But it is great. Take a listen. Or don’t. I don’t give a shit. I love this record.
Postscript: Party Doll is a better version of Far Away Eyes; it’s the real song outside of the pastiche. Nice to hear Jagger with heart on sleeve rather than tongue in (between whoever’s) cheek(s).
Sample Track: Primitive Cool
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