Hackney Diamonds

The Rolling Stones
Hackney Diamonds

Jason Landry, contributor

There are not too many eighty, seventy-nine, and seventy-five year olds that can still rock like The Rolling Stones can. Proof is in the pudding––just listen to their new album Hackney Diamonds.

The term “Hackney Diamonds” is London slang for the shards of shattered glass left behind on the street after burglars have smashed a car or store window. And Hackney is a particular section within London known for high crime rates.

Fans of The Rolling Stones will find this album to be more of a pop rock album than the bluesy tracks that they have been known for in the past. I personally don’t see anything wrong with that—you can make popular music and it can still hit. But don’t fret, the last song on the album, Rolling Stone Blues is a play on the old blues classic, Rollin’ Stone, made popular by Muddy Waters. You didn’t think they were going to completely stray away from their roots, did you?

The production value is high and crisp, and sounds more contemporary than their older recordings done on tape. I’m certain there will be two camps: the likes and the don’t likes. Regardless, Mick Jagger can still sing like no other, and the dueling guitars of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood have never sounded better. I find Hackney Diamonds to be one of their most cohesive albums in years. The upbeat, track Bite My Head Off steals the show and other key tracks include Mess It Up and the track that starts it off, Angry are catchy and upbeat.

The stamina of these guys is remarkable. The addition of Steve Jordan who jumped in behind the skins after the passing of long time drummer Charlie Watts rounds out their sound and gives The Stones a very different type of beat. Jordan was a logical fit having played on Keith Richard’s solo projects and most recently played in the John Mayer Trio.

As Keith Richard’s said in a recent interview, “We cut this record, primarily to become a vinyl record.”  With that in mind, give it a listen—it’s cohesive from start to finish.