The Rolling Stones

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Stripped Review

by Roch Parisien

Despite the odds, the Rolling Stones' Stripped held out great promise. Voodoo Lounge was an energized return to studio form for the Borg of rock & roll road shows. From that platform, the idea of taking it back to small clubs -- live, lean, and pared-down without succumbing to the worn "unplugged" treadmill -- seemed an inspired move. Patched together from an embroidery of tour rehearsals and live club dates in Paris and Amsterdam, the project was an extension of acoustic sets the group introduced on the North American leg of the Voodoo Lounge tour. The concept offered an invigorating opportunity to dust off some rough gems from the past that no longer felt at home on sloping stadium stages. Unfortunately, the cover photo depicting a lean, determined, leather-clad combo in Spartan black and white proves to be misleading advertising. Within the brave packaging lies a listless, lethargic Dorian Gray bluff. Spongy keyboards gunk many of the tracks. The much-touted cover of Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" remains pointlessly devoted to the original. There are lazy, somnambulant versions of "I'm Free" and "Let It Bleed"; Keith Richards' "Slipping Away" is painfully intoned; and there are dozens of lost songs that any fan would choose to have renovated before "Angie."

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