In the world of rock music, the Rolling Stones have once again made headlines with their latest album, “Hackney Diamonds.” This release marks an impressive 18 years since their last original music album, “A Bigger Bang,” and it’s already being hailed as their finest work in four decades. My friend Hilton, a die-hard Rolling Stones aficionado, had mixed feelings about “A Bigger Bang” when it debuted in 2005, finding it somewhat lackluster.
The Stones’ 2016 album, “Blue & Lonesome,” a collection of blues covers, garnered respectable reviews, but I personally wasn’t captivated by Mick Jagger’s vocal performance. However, “Hackney Diamonds” shifts the narrative, blending the quintessential Stones’ vibe with a fresh, modern sound. It’s an album that the band is enthusiastically promoting, starting with a vibrant launch party in New York City featuring a performance with Lady Gaga titled “Sweet Sounds Of Heaven.”
The collaboration with Lady Gaga, a serendipitous outcome of sharing a recording studio, echoes a previous partnership during the Stones’ 50 and Counting tour. Lady Gaga’s contributions to the new track have drawn comparisons to Merry Clayton’s iconic vocals in “Gimme Shelter.” The song, a mix of gospel and soul, showcases an intense vocal interplay between Gaga and Jagger, receiving notable acclaim from critics.
The album’s lead single, “Angry,” kicks off with a riff that reminds listeners of the Stones’ classic “Start Me Up.” The track has enjoyed moderate success on the charts, but it’s “Hackney Diamonds” as a whole that’s really soaring, achieving number one on the UK Albums Chart and making the Rolling Stones the first band to have chart-topping albums in the UK across six different decades.
Critically, the album has received a mix of reviews. Metacritic rates it favorably, but Pitchfork’s Grayson Haver Currin offers a more critical view, particularly appreciating the authenticity in tracks like “Tell Me Straight” and “Sweet Sound of Heaven.” Currin’s critique extends to the commercialization of the Stones’ music, yet despite this, “Hackney Diamonds” has captivated listeners, including myself and presumably Hilton, with its blend of authenticity and contemporary flair.
For fans eager to delve deeper into the Rolling Stones’ latest era, there’s a wealth of content to explore, from their YouTube channel to their official website and social media platforms.