The Rolling Stones Release 'A Bigger Bang'
A Bigger Bang is the 22nd studio album by The Rolling Stones.
It is a follow-up to their previous full-length studio album, 1997's Bridges to Babylon, and like Bridges to Babylon and its 1994 predecessor Voodoo Lounge, the album was again produced by Don Was and The Glimmer Twins.
The album features a more basic, stripped-down style reminiscent of Some Girls, but with a harder, more contemporary edge. Many of these songs were recorded with just the core band of Richards, Jagger, and Watts. Ronnie Wood was absent from some of the sessions, playing on only ten of the 16 tracks, with only very occasional contributions from outside musicians comprising the recording of the album.
Although initial reports stated that the Stones had "returned to their roots" with the record, the minimal instrumentation, rough mix, and tough blues and "garage" rock hybrid bear certain similarities to the aesthetic of contemporary artists like The White Stripes and The Black Keys.
Critical reaction was positive. A Bigger Bang was touted as the best Rolling Stones album since 1981's Tattoo You and found the band in a revitalized state. Nevertheless, all of the Stones albums since 1989's Steel Wheels had been similarly lauded, and many critics and fans felt that the Stones had yet to record a late-period album truly up to their high standards, though the rock-oriented nature of the record certainly appeased the Stones' loyal fanbase.
The first single, "Streets of Love/Rough Justice" reached #15 in the UK singles chart, while A Bigger Bang entered the UK charts at #2 and #3 in the U.S. However, like all of The Rolling Stones' studio albums since Tattoo You, its commercial performance was not enormous, as its singles failed to become major hits and the record made only a transient impact on the charts. Nevertheless, A Bigger Bang went platinum and sold about as well as its predecessor, Bridges to Babylon (perceived as a considerably more commercial record), indicative of the Stones' enshrinement as a ceaselessly popular rock band rather than immediate pop contenders, and of a commercial security derived from a huge, devoted fan base (which may have been one of the band's realizations in recording this less calculated, rawer, and fairly uncommercial record).
As of March 31, 2006, the album had sold over 2.4 million copies worldwide according to EMI.
In August 2005 the Rolling Stones embarked on the A Bigger Bang Tour in support of the album. The 90-show phenomenon is the largest tour in North American history and was met with sold-out tickets at every destination, usually within minutes of opening. The tour was extended into 2007 because Keith Richards fell out of a tree in Fiji. It concluded in August 2007 at the O2 Arena in London.
The album is the first on which Jagger also plays bass on some tracks. This results from Ronnie Wood's lesser participation.
This album was chosen as one of Amazon.com's Top 100 Editor's Picks of 2005. It was ranked the second-best album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine, behind rapper Kanye West's Late Registration.
Even before the singles were released, A Bigger Bang was noted for the song "Sweet Neo Con", which was critical of both President George W. Bush and American politics in general, and caused much controversy.
I'm obviously not to be trusted, since when I finally pulled out my vinyl on Dirty Work, which nobody else likes, I still loved its booming Steve Lillywhite Charlie, its studious chicken-scratch Keith, its bitterness and cynicism and spiritual desperation. On this one desperation is in remission. But despite its lack of an anthem to replace "Start Me Up," it certainly beats Tattoo You or anything else going back to Exile except Some Girls.