1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – Mick Jagger’s She’s The Boss

1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#27 Mick Jagger – She’s The Boss (1985)

MATT KELLY marvels at a shockingly bad album wherein Jagger uses 31 great session musicians for seemingly no reason whatsoever.

Jagger’s solo career has to be one of rock’s greatest wet firecrackers. If anyone was going to go supernova and take over the world like Phil Collins, it would be the sexy, cocky, swaggering Jagger and not, well… Phil Collins. Yet the only good Jagger’s solo career has done the world is providing endless amusement for Keith Richards.

A large part of me wanted to cover Jagger’s second album, 1987’s Primitive Cool, but admittedly that’s somewhat because of that album’s inexplicably terrible artwork. If I stick to the rules and judge the music alone, She’s The Boss takes the shit sandwich.

Rarely has so much talent (Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Nile Rodgers and many more) been assembled to achieve so little. I don’t know how such a stacked lineup manages such a shitty sound but they do – listen to the aggressively repetitive, headache-inducing drum sound on opening track ‘Lonely At The Top’, the comically lame faux-cool synths on ‘Turn The Girl Loose’, or ‘Running Out Of Luck’s’ baffling messy opening.


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Even on simple, straightforward pop-rock like ‘Half A Loaf’, the keyboards are in the wrong place in the mix. ‘Lucky In Love’ comes closest to having a decent hooky chorus but why is it six minutes long?

And the title track – woof. Jagger and the instrumentation seem locked in a battle to show who can be more irritating, and it’s closely fought over an interminable 5:16. And through the record Beck is doing probably the worst, corniest things of his career.

The Stones updated their sound with modern pop influences on such occasions as Some Girls and Emotional Rescue, but there Jagger has Richards and Watts to keep him grounded in rock credibility. Here, a ridiculous 31 session musicians ensure the record has no cohesive sonic direction not helped by the desperate trendiness of the songwriting, resulting in a sad, plastic set.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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