BRIDGES TO BABYLON

Pre-production:
November-early December 1996: Dangerous Music Studios, New York City; and Keith Richards'
home studio, Connecticut, USA
December 1996: Westside Studios, London, England
mid-January-January 24, 1997: studio, New York City, USA
Early-to-mid February 1997: Westside Studios, London, England

Recorded & mixed:
Late February-early March 1997: PCP Labs (The Dust Brothers' studio), Silver Lake, California, USA
March 13-late March 1997: Ocean Way Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA
April-early July 1997: Ocean Way Recording Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Executive producers: Don Was & The Glimmer Twins
Specific producers: The Glimmer Twins, Don Was, The Dust Brothers,
Pierre de Beauport, Rob Fraboni & Danny Saber
Chief engineers: Dan Bosworth, Rob Fraboni & others
Mixers: Tom Lord-Alge, Rob Fraboni & others
Released: September 1997
Original label: Virgin Records



Contributing musicians: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ron Wood, Waddy Wachtel, Jim Keltner, Bernard Fowler, Blondie Chaplin, Darryl Jones, Don Was, Jamie Muhoberac, Pierre de Beauport, Joe Sublett, Darrell Leonard, Benmont Tench, Kenny Aronoff, Billy Preston, Danny Saber, Jeff Sarli, Doug Wimbish, Clinton Clifford, Wayne Shorter, Me'Shell Ndegéocello.

Flip the Switch
Anybody Seen My Baby?
Low Down
Already Over Me
Gunface
You Don't Have to Mean It
Out of Control
Saint of Me
Might As Well Get Juiced
Always Suffering
Too Tight
Thief in the Night
How Can I Stop
 
 
 


THE TITLE


We didn't have a title for the tour until we'd built the (bridge) model and I asked Tom Stoppard to come and look at it and to give his opinion as somebody from outside the rock world. It's funny how people can come in from other parts of theatre, take a look at something that you've been looking at for weeks and go You shouldn't have that thing in there. Tom started to talk about Babylon and came up with a number of incredibly long titles. I shortened one and ended up with the Bridges to Babylon title for the tour and the album.
- Mick Jagger, 2003






 
 


CREATION


Everyone said, We should do an album and tour. And I said, Well, isn't it a bit soon to do an album and tour? But I thought, Well, we might as well get on with it sooner rather than later. You can just wait and wait and wait, and then it gets more difficult to do.
- Mick Jagger, July 1997


I talked to Keith about it. I talked to everyone in the band about it. I didn't want to do a record same as the last record, Voodoo Lounge - I don't want to do that record again. And if everyone wants to do that, I think it's a mistake. And I'm not interested... A lot of me, in one way, didn't want to do this. I'd rather do something that is not so restricting. There's a great danger, when you've done all these albums, and been around as a band for so long, that you think you know how to make a record. Someone writes a song, and there is something in the song you recognize: Oh, I know what that is. That's like "No Expectations". I know how to do that. I'll get my slide guitar. I don't want to do the first thing that comes to mind. The other thing was, if I write a song, or Keith writes a song, or we write one together, if I see it one way, I want to try it. I don't want to be some committee where everyone has 10 cents' worth of it. That's the bad part of being in a band. But if you have an idea of what a song should sound like, I want to be able to try it that way. So that's what I said; everyone seemed to agree with that.
- Mick Jagger, July 1997


(Bridges to Babylon) is pretty, savagely eclectic. But right from the go, I said to everyone, Well, it's not long since we did the last studio album, and we've had another album since - which is called Stripped, which was of course a very retro album.
- Mick Jagger, September 1997


I had a lot of songs that I was just writing last autumn (1996) and I had thought, you know, I was gonna do a solo record and there wasn't really talk about doing a Stones record, so I was just writing songs really. I mean, I was having a really nice time doing it. And I did write a lot all around the world but I was just sitting there doing these songs and I... So when we had sort of decided that we were going to do a Stones record, I thought, well I'd just pick the songs that I think... that would suit - and there were lots of others that perhaps didn't suit. And so I had an awful lot prepared, so I had those and so when Keith and I got together, I played him some of them, familiarized him and then we went on and wrote a bunch of other stuff. Some of which appears (on the album), some of which doesn't.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


I had written a lot of songs coming into this project that I'd already done. I'd written them and they were all finished and completed. I didn't really necessarily know we were going to do a Stones record at that point... (I wrote) Anybody Seen My Baby, Saint of Me... Gunface, Out of Control, Might As Well Get Juiced.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


I wouldn't have been able to write songs like (Thief in the Night and How Can I Stop) 10, 15 years ago. I wouldn't have been able to put it over with the right attitude. I guess a lot of the earlier stuff is just a hard shell: Before They make Me Run, and so on.
- Keith Richards, September 1997


The plan was to... I mean, the last time at the studio... was very much a solid kind of band working in the studio. We went to Dublin, and we all sat in the room together more or less all the time and it was very much an old-fashioned or whatever word you want to use - I mean, a very straight-made record. So, I thought, well, if we're going to do this one differently, we'd have to take a slightly different approach to it. You're not going to completely change that, 'cause a lot of the things you're going to go in there and you are going to play and you are going to sing and are going to do these songs. But maybe then (some) have to be approached in that way and some... that lend themselves to other treatments can be taken out of that live environment for a moment and brought back and rebuilt. I mean, we made records like that before, it's just a... We made them very early on like that, we'd just do the drum track and you build the thing up from there. And so Charlie an I talked a lot about the different ways of creating this. Changing the grooves a little bit, you know, 'cause from my mind a lot of certain songs lend themselves to this, to messing with the grooves, because you get a slightly different feel than you would get than if you play live. And you're able... you have more control over it. So Charlie and I thought that was a good way to do it. So that's why we did some of these songs the way we did. And I think all in all they're a success 'cause I don't think they really took away from the spirit of the band really... Plus there's enough other things on the album to balance it out.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


You have to break the mold. I love the way we do grooves normally but we've done them so many times. You write a song, you can play it to the band and they go That's Stones song number 8b. I just wanted to change the way the grooves worked, that's why I went for a few different noises.
- Mick Jagger, July-August 1997


Anything's better than being boring (laughs). A lot of it is experimentation, at least for the Stones. And I look upon that as a good thing - anything but sitting around, saying, OK, let's be the Stones.
- Keith Richards, July 1997


We began writing this album around November (1996), down in (Greenwich) Village (in New York City), in a little demo studio called Dangerous Music. I wanted to cut the whole album there, it was sounding so good, but it was a bit too small for everybody. Mick and I started Low Down there and Anybody Seen My Baby?, Already Over You, Suffering and Any Way You Look At It. We got 5 or 6 tracks together in a week there, and did a little bit in London in December. And then we started working in L.A. in February. The songs came pretty easy. They usually do. Our problem is what to leave off.
- Keith Richards, July 1997


For the recording of Bridges to Babylon, Mick and I agreed that instead of us coming together, he would cut some tracks his way and I'd cut some tracks my way. We hadn't tried that before; I wanted to see how Mick would take that idea and he took it a lot further than I expected. I had no idea that Mick thought that meant he had a licence to have a different producer for every song. Which was not quite what I had in mind. There seemed to be producers coming and going all the time. Meanwhile I was just working with Don Was. It was an intersteing experiment and I like the album - you can sense the diversity and the division - but it did create a bit of a rickety bridge between us. But there's always a point in each alcum whee we have a bridge to cross.
- Keith Richards, 2003


Before the Stones met up I'd already done two or three songs with the Dust Brothers here in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


Mick actually started working with The Dust Brothers and Babyface a couple of weeks before Keith even arrived. I guess Keith found out when he showed up... He wasn't that thrilled not to have known about it ahead of time. Anyway, that ended up working itself out.
- Rob Fraboni, 1997


Initially, Mick expressed an interest in working with us. He knew the Beck record (Odelay) and Paul's Boutique, and he asked if we'd ever recorded a band before. We'd worked with a number of bands over the years, so we sent him a tape of some stuff. He was still interested in working with us. He asked us if we could come down to New York to meet with him. We sat down with him and talked for about 20 minutes, just philosophically, about music in general. Then Mick said, Oh, this is all nonsense. Let me just play you some stuff. He'd really done his homework. The first songs he'd chosen to play for us were right up our alley. The demos sounded like we'd already worked on them. They were very funky, with these very dusty, old-sounding drum tracks.
- Mike Simpson (of the Dust Brothers), 1997


The Stones do a lot of work on their own, pre-productionwise. Then they decided to bring different producers in. They're totally cool. They treat you totally nice. Mick is a really smart, energetic, hardworking person. He's writing great songs. And he's totally not shy about just getting on the mic and performing, playing keyboards, harmonica, whatever... His vocals are good... He's very theatrical. A lot of the artists we work with aren't too theatrical, and so that distortion (we add) really helps give their vocals an edge. But Mick'll just take a crazy breath in the middle of a phrase and freak you out. The edge is already there.
- John King (of the Dust Brothers), 1997


In most cases, we started by putting something together at our place. We recorded into the computer, then we transferred it to an ADAT. We took the ADAT down to Oceanway and bumped it over to a multi-track. Then we'd record Charlie's drums, let's say, or some guitar work from Keith or Ron. We'd transfer that from the multitrack back to the ADAT, bring it back to our studio, load the new tracks into our computer, edit them and work out the arrangements on the computer.
- Mike Simpson (of the Dust Brothers), 1997


Actually, I had very little to do with (the Dust Brothers). I'm like, What do you want me to do? And they're like, Oh, just do what you always do. I'm thinking, That's PRODUCING?
- Keith Richards, September 1997


(Keith) doesn't really get along with people very often, you know. He takes a stand against people... He worked with Don a lot.
- Mick Jagger, September 1997


(We constructed the tracks.) That's what records are. I mean, many Rolling Stones records have been constructed in a similar way. There are many, many ways to make a Rolling Stones record... (But y)ou can only push it so far. We used to try and sound like Howlin' Wolf. But we never ACTUALLY sounded like Howlin' Wolf, because it's always going to sound like the Rolling Stones. You can run 89 loops, and it STILL sounds like the Rolling Stones.
- Mick Jagger, July 1997


I'm not against using (the synthesizer) as a taste here and there, but to construct things around a synthesizer is the antithesis of what the Stones are all about.
- Keith Richards, August 1997


(Keith) wanted Don (Was) on board. He was the one that wanted Don on board. I wanted Don on board as well because he can help me not only produce some of the tracks but coordinate the project. You need someone to help you. I could have done it, but it would have been a lot more work for me. We'd coordinate together - we've got the Dust Brothers this afternoon, and then we ended up with this, and what are we going to do with the Dust Brothers rhythm track, and so on. Just coordinating the thing is quite complicated.
- Mick Jagger, September 1997


We had a relatively short time to cut it, for a Stones album. We started cutting in the middle of February and finished by the end of June - well, almost. Mick said, Let's split this up a little, production-wise. Otherwise we won't have enough time. We gotta farm this thing out.
- Keith Richards, July 1997


Keith basically went in and cut the tracks like he did in the old days. I mean, he got the band together and worked up the songs. He sang them when we cut them and then Mick would sing them later. And then Mick would be working on some stuff with the Dust Brothers, for example, in the other studio.
- Rob Fraboni, 1997


I was working with Don and Rob Fraboni most of the time, and leaping into the other sessions when Mick would say, OK, I need a guitar.
- Keith Richards, July 1997


Ninety-five percent of what I saw was the band set up live and playing... I hope people don't say, Oh, Dust Brothers - trying to be trendy, because that's not true; that's just a textural approach to performing the songs. These guys are such personalities. You got to go a long way to water them down. Like when Keith sings harmony - even if there are five other people singing, you'll hear him on top there.
- Don Was, July 1997


I start to feel good about records when I realize I can toss away the rule book. When I heard Mick's (Might As Well Get Juiced) demo, I knew there was a path to follow here. Then, by the time I got to the studio with Flip the Switch and Low Down, I started to hear how the band was playing: OK, from now on, I'm following this thing. I'm not trying to lead it anywhere. Just sit on its tail and hang on.
- Keith Richards, July 1997


You can do a song a lot of different ways, but everything starts with the groove. The Dust Brothers added a slightly different rhythmic edge and that was really important to us. Plus they dropped a few quirky little bits of "fairy dust" here and there that perhaps you wouldn't normally think of. Danny Saber is a little bit more of a straight-ahead guy, but he's also very strong rhythmically and not afraid to try different textures and so on. With Don, we worked on getting all sorts of different sounds. He's also got a great ability to organize.
- Mick Jagger, August 1997


Mick and Keith never really argue. What happens is that other people create these things. A lot of the times it's a question of too many cooks, and that's the reaon these rumours happen. The only real disagreements they had during the recording of Bridges to Babylon - and I do mean honest disagreements - was because of the way the different producers we asked to get involved wanted to make records; all the newer, younger producers, because Keith and I have never made records like that. The way that record was made, you'd sit down, Keith would play a song, you'd wait until you got the right tempo and then you'd play it three or four times. These tracks are made late at night with nobody around. I'd be in there playing the drums and the producers would tape me and then do whatever they liked to. In fact, I enjoyed doing it because I had never worked like that before. But although I found it really interesting, I knew that I would hate to make records like that on a permanent basis, because then it becomes a producer's game - it's got nothing to do with the musicians at all.
- Charlie Watts, 2003


Mick went through three or four producers. There was no consistency in what he wanted to do. So with all these producers and musicians, including a total of eight bass players, it got out of hand. We actually ended up for the first time almost making separate records - mine and Mick's. Everybody was playing on the record except the Stones half the time. At one point - when things were really strained between me and Mick - collaboration consisted of Don Was sitting ahd hammering out lyrics with Mick. Don's like my lawyer, representing me, and he's reading out all the scribbles of my improvised lyrics that were taken down by some Canadian girl while I was blabbering into a mike, and he's using these notes as input when they're looking for a rhyme or whatever line.
- Keith Richards, Life (2010)


Don was the referee.
- Ron Wood, 1997


The difference for each of us (in recording in Los Angeles), for those years we've been recording on beautiful tropical islands, you know, that you are actually thrown totally on your own resources and if you have an idea for a horn section or you want an extra percussion out of this, forget about it. You know, 2 weeks later maybe you get it, or the guy you want his passport's run out, you know. So after about 4 months or so, you're really just bouncing off of each other and you don't get any outside influence. To be able to record in L.A., after all where we did most of the 60s stuff, and where there is lots of friends about, as you know, as you notice when you read the list, names as Jim Keltner, Waddy Wachtel and Blondie Chaplin coming in, who is here with us as well. And lots of other cats, not necessarily that came in to play but they'd just come in and bounce ideas off you. It was less, it was a joy not to work in a vacuum.
- Keith Richards, 1997


You feel like you're in the swim (of things) a bit rather... And if you isolate yourself, I think you isolate the record. Sometimes that works for you, but it doesn't always. I think, it tells on the record in the end. It's been ages and I thought that was another good move for this record, to make it in a center. You know, it could have been made in London or in New York, but it would have been a slightly different record.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


There aren't as many distractions in L.A. as there are in some place like New York. And since it's not a 24-hour-a-day town, everything sort of closes early which enabled us to just get on with it.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


Being in L.A., it was like, I know this town. I know this MICROPHONE. It was nice to record in a music town again... In L.A., you know, you've got Jim Keltner coming in, Waddy Wachtel, Wayne Shorter... guys who suggest things.
- Keith Richards, September 1997


Everyone wanted to play bass. Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards are both great bassists, and of course there was Darryl Jones and Me'Shell Ndegéocello. Plus, Danny Saber plays and I'm a bass player too. It was a little out of control.
- Don Was, August 1997


One idea I had was to use an upright bassist (Jeff Sarli) on three tracks: Flip the Switch, Too Tight and on How Can I Stop. I wanted to get away from the dum, dum,dum dum, electric bass. I figured, Let's try to get some swing.
- Keith Richards, July 1997


Got this guy from Baltimore in, Jeff Sarli, plays like Willie Dixon. I didn't want that same electric bass texture. I wanted a little more roll to it, 'cause we've got enough rock. Whatever DID happen to the roll? Actually it probably lives in an upright bass.
- Keith Richards, September 1997


It was a lot of fun for me, because I got to work with the Dust Brothers, John and Michael, and Danny Saber. It was like great, plus our regulars, you know. So we had that, so for me it was a lot of fun 'cause you'd do these very peculiar ways of recording to me, type of things, and we'd do the conventional way we usually worked once. It was a great mixture. Yeah, playing to different demands of you.
- Charlie Watts, 1997


(Charlie) loved doing it and he was able to do both things. Be traditional, play with the band, and do loops and experiments... And he likes jazz a lot and jazz is very experimental music, you know. It is much more experimental than rock music...
- Mick Jagger, 1997


Actually, (the Stones) have been (working with loops) for years, so it's not new to them. The first day we worked with Charlie, Don Was set him up in the room at Oceanway and cranked Dr. Dre's The Chronic album through Charlie's headphones, and had him play along with the whole album. He recorded all that and they're using those as a source of loops for the various songs they're working on.
- Mike Simpson (of the Dust Brothers), 1997


While we were making this record we were working in 3 different rooms in the studio at once. At one end you'd sort of pass Charlie in the corridor. I'd say, I can't stop now, you know, I have to do this overdubbing in studio 2, and Charlie would go, Well, I'm off to put on some percussion on in studio 1... and we were like nuts. It's high pressure but it was fun to me. It was fun.
- Keith Richards, 1997


(When we got to a second studio), Jim Keltner and Charlie Watts set up in that room and were having a drum jam. Some really great music was put down there: freeform kind of stuff, really good - some great grooves, as you might expect. That went on for a few days.
- Rob Fraboni, 1997


I was wandering between studio 1, 2 and 3, I eventually set up my own room in studio 4 with Charlie and Jim Keltner and we did an alternative album at the same time that the (Stones') album was made. We had some good things coming out of that as well. I'd put my nose in one room and see Mick working on something with Danny Saber, and then I'd do something with Don Was or going to see what the Dust Brothers were doing in the other. This was quite good fun really.
- Ron Wood, 1997


I personally had a lot of fun doing it. I was with a crowd of people who I have known for a while and who are interesting to know, apart from the Rolling Stones. I mean L.A. is full of musicians, obviously, and working with all these producers. They work in a very strange way to the way I am used to working.
- Charlie Watts, 1997


Charlie returned for the (mixing sessions) and stayed for a while. Not through to the bitter end but long enough to hear things and put his opinion in, which is really great. I really love it when he gets involved.
- Rob Fraboni, 1997


Charlie is now fully ware of the pitfalls of being a bandleader. Nor would you ever in the old days have seen him walk into the control room and say, My hi-hat needs this or that. Now he's made his own records, he's much more meticulous about his drum sound. And that's a great thing, because it takes more of the weight off it just being Mick and me all the time. Which just puts us head-to-head.
- Keith Richards, September 1997


I firmly believed in Keith's right to have a third vocal on the record, but Mick was having none of it. I'm sure Keith is totally unaware of all that it took to get Thief in the Night on that record. Because it was a total standoff between those two guys, neither one was backing down, and were going to miss the release date... And the night before the deadline, I had a dream, and I called Mick up and I said, I know your point about him singing three songs, but if two were at the end of the record and they were together as a medley, if there wasn't a lot of space between the two songs, then they would be seen as one big Keith thing at the end of the record... And he went with that... And so those two became one song.
- Don Was, in Keith Richards, Life (2010)


 





 
 


APPRECIATION


I think the Stones with this one reach another natural point where I noticed that Let's try to be radically different, or let's do that. Or that Mick and I said Let's "Vive la différence", you know, you follow your path a little more, and I'll follow mine instead of us both trying to reach a compromise in the middle, which a lot of records turn out. And then I said to him this is all Rolling Stones too.... (T)his one has taken us back into an area that we haven't been in for a long time, (since maybe) Exile (On Main Street), you know, where unexpected things were coming out without anybody really trying for it...
- Keith Richards, 1997


Voodoo Lounge was a progression from Steel Wheels and this is a progression from that. We're pushing boundaries again. We wanted something provocative. We didn't want a competent Stones record - we wanted a record that people would either love or hate.
- Keith Richards, August 1997


I feel like it's the first one where we've really been able to push the boundaries since we've come back together after the five years of World War III between Mick and me. Steel Wheels was us getting back together and seeing if we could incorporate the things we'd learned from playing with other people into the Rolling Stones II, as it were. With Voodoo Lounge we were definitely getting back on the track a little more. But this is the first one where I think we were really able to push the limits, stylistically. Maybe it was the world touring. You listen to a lot of shit over two and a half years' time, going from South Africa to Japan: different local music all the time... And what goes in must come out, in one way or another.
- Keith Richards, July 1997


Voodoo Lounge showed the band reclaiming their sound and really catching up with their legacy. This time, I think there was a definite sense that they didn't want to repeat themselves - they wanted to try new things. As a band they've played better on this then they ever did before. The album has an adventurous spirit and a lot of diversity. Every song sort of has its own little world.
- Don Was, August 1997


I mean, in the end, when you actually listen to it... it's not like, you know, Bitches Brew (a Miles Davis album), you know. We're not going off into the stratosphere. It's just a little bit... But the grooves are a little bit different. But I think also on this album the songwriting's better and the songs are just... (We) came up with a few good songs as well, which is what makes it in the end.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


We wanted to experiment and have a different sounding record, one that would take the Rolling Stones in a new direction, yet still have the traditional stuff as well. To be honest, I think these are the best songs we've written in years.
- Mick Jagger, August 1997


Hopefully, I think we're sitting on the biggest album that... and the best album that we've had for many a year. I'd even compare it to something like Beggars Banquet or, you know, one of the old rock solid albums like Let It Bleed or something.
- Ron Wood, 1997


Funny enough, I think this new albums ranks as one of the highest since their first albums. It think it ranks along with Exile... This is shooting into the wind here a bit, but I do get the gut feeling that this one is that good.
- Ron Wood, September 1997


Well, it should (sound like a Stones album)! Now, if it was my album, it would have been different. It would have been even more mashed-up then it was. But you can't do that; it's a Rolling Stones album. If we'd have done that, we'd have been accused of not being the Rolling Stones, and no one would have liked that. People would ask, Where are the old Stones?
- Charlie Watts, September 1997


The Stones make better records because they work better under pressure, under deadlines, and we're used to taking a luxurious 2 years to make a record by which time you're sort of blended out sometimes. Half of the tracks they've been so overdubbed that there's nothing left of them and... - or you couldn't tell anymore, you know. There is a certain immediacy about this one that I like. And there is a certain feeling of going ahead, moving on, you know. Ah... I've never lost weight making a record before (laughs). This one cost me 10 pounds that I could ill afford.
- Keith Richards, 1997


I've been around long enough to know people sometimes say great things at the beginning and then it doesn't (stay that way). I mean, I don't know, I mean there's lots of different kinds of successes with albums. There's, you know, your own things about whether you've done your best work in the given parameters or so on. And then, I mean, if it's received well critically, because people review it in print, and radio and TV and all that. And then, do the public like it and if they do, do they buy it... I mean, personally, I think it's a pretty good record, so... And I think it's sort of a notch up from some of the others we've done.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


If I have to compare (with other albums), I must say that I am particularly happy with Babylon. From the range of material to the feeling that Steel Wheels represented a new beginning for the Rolling Stones, Voodoo Lounge consolidated it, and Babylon hints of a promise within the band that they are back ready to surprise themselves and hopefully everybody else - pleasantly.
- Keith Richards, 1998

I still very much like Bridges to Babylon; there's some interesting stuff on it.
- Keith Richards, Life (2010)


Sometimes you hear a good song on the radio, so you go out and buy that album. Then you get home and you find there's only one other good song on there, so you never play that record again. But if you've made a record that people will want to listen to all the way through over and over again, well, then you've really got something special. I hope this album has achieved that.
- Mick Jagger, 1997


The key to making a good album is to go in with 4 or 5 good ideas and see what else comes out of that. I'm not interested in making pop records and having major hits, I'm just trying to put a body of work together. The main thing is to have fun - anybody can do it. You can do it.
- Keith Richards, 1997

 






 
 


REVIEW EXCERPTS


Bridges To Babylon
is an entirely competent modern rock record saved from mediocrity by a handful of stand-out songs and the Stones' innate cachet. The air of dissolution, tended carefully over three decades of Hell's Angel murders and sexual hi-jinx, lends a raffish air to fairly ordinary songs like Low Down and  Might As Well Get Juiced. Gunface, featuring Jagger at his playful best and Flip The Switch are better, both getting a jolt from nicely discordant guitar riffs. Anybody Seen My Baby and Already Over Me manage to get away with their mix of wounded male pride and sexual bluster. Whether they would were it not for their Stones imprimatur is another matter entirely, but you can't disinvent 33 years of album making. Perhaps the most genuinely likeable tunes here are both sung by Keith Richards and both, to varying degrees, are exercises in pastiche... Strangely, Bridges To Babylon often recalls R.E.M.'s Monster album. Both are functional and capable and both will be absorbed into fans' collections but neither will be remembered by neutrals in a year or two or win new admirers. But as several thousand people discovered last night somewhere in the midwest, Bridges To Babylon does the job it was made for. (3 STARS)
- Q, 1997


Bridges To Babylon sounds like the Stones without sounding tired. The band is tight and energetic, and there's just enough flair to the sultry Anybody Seen My Baby?, the menacing Gunface, and the low-key, sleazy Might as Well Get Juiced to make them sound contemporary. But the real key to the success of Bridges to Babylon is the solid, craftsmanlike songwriting. While there aren't any stunners on the album, nothing is bad... And, as always, Keith contributes three winners... that cap off another fine latter-day Stones record. (3 STARS)
- Stephen Erlewine, All Music Guide




 
 


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