Saturday, September 19, 2015
Keith Richards / "Crosseyed Heart"
I pretty much gave up on the world of the modern Rolling Stones. I find them totally not interesting. It's corporate rock. On the other hand, I love the 1960s Stones. From the first album to "Let it Bleed," they couldn't do no wrong. After Andrew Loog Oldham and Brian Jones left, they became a different type of animal. Which is perfectly OK, I know there are people out there (even good ones) who feel that "Exile" and "Sticky Fingers" are classics. I'm not going to argue against that, but I prefer "We Love You" to the boogie era Stones. Which comes to the new Keith Richards's new solo album 'Crosseyed Heart." It's 100% Keith. It's Keith of the legendary Keith - the icon. And that iconic Keith kind of bugs me. On the other hand, this is a fantastic album.
Steve Jordan, Keith's left or right-handed man for this specific album, as well as co-author of most of the original songs, except for the two covers, I think did a magnificent job. What makes this album great are the arrangements. He adds unexpected touches throughout the album. It's a beautifully textured work. A lot of the songs or recordings remind me of Tom Waits. Not only Keith's voice, but just how he lets the songs relax, and it rolls really well into the chorus. Which again, is never expected. "Heartstopper" starts off as a Keef riff thing, but the chorus is tenderly seductive. Keith in recent interviews mentions that he doesn't like "rock" but loves the "roll." Which I believe he's commenting on the groove aspect of a song. "Trouble" is pretty terrific, in how the back up vocals is arranged. Almost "Shattered" (my fave post-Stones classic era cut) like, in that it builds into this great memorable and very Keith specific "groove." Jordan I suspect, as well as being a fantastic drummer, is a classic arranger, or I suspect he's the main one here with respect to the arrangements. There is almost a Jean-Claude Vannier touch he adds to the Keith sound. Which means this is the closest Richards will get to Serge Gainsbourg. If you close your eyes, and let the ears hear his version of "Goodnight Irene" one can almost hear the ghost of Brian Jones.
With someone like Keith Richards, one is often thought 'this is only a moonlighting gig," but the truth is, and with this album, he should consider a solo career as his main occupation. His vocal work is very sexy and reflective of the personality that is his. At the tender age of 71, this is clearly his best work since the classic era of the Stones.