Mick Jagger credits the dynamic energy behind Hackney Diamonds to its producer and bassist, Andrew Watt. With a knack for awakening the true essence of artists, Watt stands out. Just as he drew out Iggy Pop’s exceptional Every Loser with a simple question, “Ready to be yourself?”, he has seemingly worked his magic again. It’s been decades since the Rolling Stones produced something so authentic to their style. However, Hackney Diamonds isn’t just a nostalgic throwback; it’s a contemporary masterpiece tailored for today’s listeners. It engages with its 48-minute playtime, leaving fans craving more.
The album kicks off with the lead single, Angry, which perfectly balances traditional and modern elements. Watt masterfully navigates the entire album, rejuvenating the Stones’ sound without ever misrepresenting their iconic style.
With tracks like the robust, riff-filled Get Close followed by Depending On You – a quintessential Stones ballad with its delicate mix of instruments and Jagger’s touching vocals, slightly tinged with a hint of auto-tune – the album captures various moods. Bite My Head Off presents an electrifying collaboration with Paul McCartney, while Whole Wide World and Dreamy Skies bring back the Stones’ signature vibes. Not to mention two tracks that spotlight Charlie Watts, along with the chic beats of Mess It Up and the pure rocker vibes of Live By The Sword.
Tracks like Driving Me Too Hard showcase Jagger’s storytelling prowess, while Tell Me Straight introspects with Keith’s somber tones. The gospel-themed Sweet Sound Of Heaven lets Jagger lead, complemented by Lady GaGa and Stevie Wonder, ensuring that the spotlight remains on the Stones’ brilliance rather than the stellar guest list, which also includes Elton John.
The album’s finale, Rolling Stone Blues – the song that inspired the band’s name – encapsulates the essence of their journey. Raw and perfect, it serves as a silent testament to their enduring legacy. Simply put, the album is a stroke of genius.