CD quick takes

A Bigger Bang, The Rolling Stones — An advance copy reveals the PR and hype is right. From the opening cut, “Rough Justice,” you realize this is the Stones as the Stones should sound. Moreover, while there are some weak tunes, Jagger and Richards still have the ability to craft real rock music. This CD is a welcome respite from their ouput over the last decade or more, most of which seemed to be overproduced toss-offs. While this isn’t a classic, it goes sufficiently back to basics to make it a worthy investment.

Back Home, Eric Clapton — Clapton moves away from his recent blues projects into a more mainstream sound. That is, in fact, the problem with this release. It is almost too mainstream. If you want to hear Clapton the guitarist, this ain’t the CD for you. If you want to hear Clapton as singer/songwriter, this might be up your alley. While there are some nice cuts, the title track for example, for my tastes, it is all a bit too much of EC at home with the kids noodling away in a MOR format.

Songs for Silverman, Ben Folds — This was a somewhat deceptive CD. On first listen this spring, I wasn’t overly impressed. With each subsequent one, though, more of the the songwriting and musical talents sunk in. I also realized my views were skewed by his prior solo studio major label release, the absolutely tremendous Rockin’ the Suburbs (which had the misfortune of being released on September 11, 2001). With this CD, Folds solidifies his image in my mind as a piano nerd with a soul that sees not only into his life but those of older souls and tells of the joys, heartbreak and tragedies of those lives in song. This ranks among the contenders for my 2005 album of the year.

How does it feel to realize
You’re all alone behind your eyes

“Trusted,” Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman

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