Volume 91, Issue 48
Friday, November 21, 1997
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Rolling Stones
Bridges to Babylon
To the dismay of many and to the disgust of most, Mick, Keith and the rest of the lads have returned with Bridges to Babylon, their 29th full-length LP. Now entering their 35th year, The Rolling Stones are carrying on despite the moss due primarily to contractual obligations and grossly-huge touring revenues.
Bridges is an album with many obvious flaws. For instance, "Low Down," is a song with a lyrical scheme which entails the reading of a daily newspaper. "Don't give me the sports page baby/no political news... Don't read me the horoscope baby/that ain't what I need" and so on.
Another laughable track includes the chorus of "Anybody Seen my Baby?," a bit that was obviously copped from k.d. lang's "Constant Craving" (and given credit on the album). Such laziness on the part of Jagger really is inexcusable, if not embarrassing.
On the other hand, Bridges to Babylon does have some very good tracks and several points of interest. The verses in "Out of Control" really hit their mark as they perfectly capture the seedy, sleazy culture of the late 70s. In "Saint of Me," Jagger 're-introduces' his Lucifer persona from "Sympathy for the Devil."
Perhaps the greatest novelty of the album is its finale. "Thief in the Night" and "How Can I Stop," flow into each other seamlessly and compose a mini-jam sung entirely by Keith Richards. This marks a major break in tradition for the Stones, given that Jagger has sung the finale on all 28 of their other albums.
Overall, Bridges to Babylon is a solid and encouraging disc. The lads are finally growing up, producing a more "adult contemporary" sound. Keep in mind The Rolling Stones pioneered and are still on the cutting edge of stadium rock and will continue to push the barriers even if they've lost interest in making records.
Emer KennyTrikola Records
Does a pretty girl with a harp and moderate command of Irish Gaelic sound familiar? In the wake of Clannad, Enya, Loreena McKennitt and other Irish-revival "pretty music," comes Emer Kenny.
The aforementioned pseudo-genre presents delicate noise from the depths of a synthesizer and studio. Kenny's musical style bears striking similarities to Enya's work. Kenny could be Enya's stylistically long-lost sister.
Emer Kenny lightly plays harp on most tracks of her self-titled album. Unfortunately, sequencing and vocal layering overshadow any semblance of the harp and when it can be heard through the keyboard programming, it's merely a medium for repetitive chord patterns. A rather ironic loss since the cover depicts Kenny posing with a Celtic harp. Not that Kenny's work is unpleasant, but it lacks the depth and skill a good vocalist and harpist can provide.
Kenny sings in English and Irish. Sadly, she only provides the English text of her songs, although the Irish tracks have explanations on the subject matter. Half the fun of listening to Irish songs is trying to follow the lyric sheet and figure out what each phrase sounds like. Try correctly pronouncing Amhran na Leabhar without hearing it, or having an Irish granny giving an Irish lesson.
If you want some serious traditional Irish music, avoid ethereal beings posing with instruments on the cover. Try some Chieftains for tradition and Derek Bell for real mastery of the Celtic harp.
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