Here I stood at my record store and my eye fell on a 12" single by Mick Jagger that had totally passed me by. Being a fan I bought it without a further thought. Two new songs by Jagger, after the recording sessions with The Rolling Stones failed, which resulted as if by default in the fabulous blues album 'Blue and Lonesome', released late in 2016.
It turns out 'Gotta Get A Grip' and 'England Lost' were released as a double sided A side 12"single on 27 July 2017, the day after Mick Jagger turned 74. According to Jagger both songs are a reaction on the uncertain political times the U.K. has moved into after the Brexit vote. Quite some statements and titles, I'd say, with little left to imagine on where he stands on this topic.
Where is Jagger musically in 2017? This is his first solo release since 2001, not counting the 'Alfie' soundtrack. His turn out of songs is extremely low in the past 17 years. With one Stones album of originals, 'A Bigger Bang' in 2005, his contribution to the supergroup SuperHeavy' (2011) and the 'Doom And Gloom' single in 2013. Has the old master held on to his tricks?
The first track 'Gotta Get A Grip' is a groove driven song, with not many changes in the melody. The moment I allow myself to get into that groove things are just fine. By building the song up layer by layer a monumental sound is created that takes everything away from the fact that this is a one riff song. From the drums starting the song to the multi guitars at the end is long way and all in just a little over 4 minutes.
'England Lost' is another song that is based on a groove more than on melody. Jagger's harmonica plays a greater role here and tears up the song in his solo. There are a few fine details to find. For example the few keyboard notes that sound out every once in a while. The guitars are very Keith and Ronny like here.
No, again, the songs are not the best Mick Jagger has released in the past 55 years. Yet they are certainly powerful and get the message he wants to send across. Just like at the ArenA show I was at in late summer, Jagger's voice is in great shape. Forceful and with a great diction. The fact that a senior citizen is standing up and telling his countrymen about the errs of their ways, is admirable. It's a dirty job but someone has got to do it.
You can listen to 'Gotta Get A Grip' here:
and 'England Lost' here: