By Brett Essler
Today, my reserve copy of the SuperHeavy CD arrived at the library so I rushed over to pick it up. On the subway ride home, I flipped through the booklet to get a better idea who to blame for specific lyrical atrocities. Alas, no lyric sheet is included, but I think it is safe to say that given the songwriting credit splits, whoever delivers the line penned it. That being said, thanks to Jagger for this gem:
My love and laser will regenerate your heart.
No need for anesthetics, I'll go check your charts.
That's from the reggae-ish "Miracle Worker," which is the album's first single. It's actually fairly catchy and has a few nice production touches that hint at the original idea that producer Dave Stewart had for this Bollywood-by-way-of-Kingston hybrid.
The problem with "Miracle Worker," as with so much of this record, is that SuperHeavy's three primary singers (Jagger, Joss Stone, and Damian Marley) sound like they are singing in three separate studios, often without the benefit of the track in their headphones. Marley toasts about whatever, Jagger is Jagger, and Stone bellows without a hint of self-awareness. And while there are a few grooves that have promise, they are so overproduced and sanitized, they never capture the essence of the genres they seek to mash up.
Whether it was reggae, the blues, pyschedelia, country, soul, disco, or new wave, Jagger (who co-produced SuperHeavy with Stewart and had a hand in writing all but two tracks) was one of rock music's great appropriators at the Stones' creative peak. It worked because it felt fresh. When he rap-sings like a jive turkey on "Miss You" you still hear the energy of 1978 New York, a time when Bronx hip hop, Studio 54, and CBGB were the soundtrack.
In stark contrast, on SuperHeavy 's manic, overstuffed "Energy," Jagger and crew try desperately for that same level of currency but manage only to replicate an outtake from U2's Pop .
It does have a nice Jagger harmonica solo, though. Dude can still blow.