Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mick Jagger

  • She's the Boss [Columbia, 1985] C
  • Primitive Cool [Columbia, 1987] B-
  • Wandering Spirit [Atlantic, 1993] ***
  • Goddess in the Doorway [Virgin, 2001] Choice Cuts

Consumer Guide Reviews:

She's the Boss [Columbia, 1985]
History may absolve him. Jeff Beck earns his fucked-up legend here, and Bill Laswell puts together several bands--like Beck-Martinez-Hancock-Shakespeare-Dunbar-Ponce on "Running Out of Luck"--that should only tour. So maybe a hundred years from now folks who've never read People will admire the timbral virtuosity and breath control of the man atop the tracks. But Jagger has become such an overbearing public presence that I for one find it impossible to care about his romantic vagaries no matter how hard he leather-lungs. It would be going too far, unfortunately, to say he's a joke. But the only thing left for him to do with his persona is burlesque it, which is why the title track is the only one that's any fun. And as my wife complains, he probably thinks it describes the way things are with him and Jerry. C

Primitive Cool [Columbia, 1987]
He grooves his overpaid pickup band, he tells Jeff Beck what to do, he writes love songs for every occasion, he doesn't even over-sing much--in short, he realizes his solo move, which beats botching it if only because the sound of a plutocrat's desperation is such an awful thing. But when I realized that "Let's Work" was no metaphor--that it was the plutocrat importuning his lessers to "kill poverty" from the bootstraps up--somehow I stopped worrying whether his "life is trivialized." Your choice, mister--you live with it. B-

Wandering Spirit [Atlantic, 1993]
singing the erotic obsession and existential futility of any spirit too long attached to the flesh, then trying for love too late ("Evening Gown," "Hang On to Me Tonight") ***

Goddess in the Doorway [Virgin, 2001]
"Too Far Gone" Choice Cuts

See Also