Dear Bill Wyman,
Much as I hate to admit it your media analysis of the Rolling Stones' "Doodoo"--oops, Voodoo Lounge was almost accurate [Hitsville, July 29]. Now I hate to admit this because I've always considered the Reader's rock critics as a bunch of weenies who habitually pissed on their feet in the shower while sucking up to the shrine of the late Lester Bangs. Over the past 15 years I'd read some of the most gratuitously ass-backward hyper anal rubbish on your pages. That rave in 1981 about Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" tour, the snide put-down of David Bowie's "Serious Moonlight" tour (something about bad teeth as I remember), and that titular nitpicking over Elvis Costello's Get Happy and the "Trust" tour ("What makes Elvis run?"). I think the nadir was the Kurt Cobain mythologizing and the exceptionally trite rate-this-suicide shit (not as big as Lennon or Hendrix but a notch above Joplin?).
At first I was ready to slam your "Doodoo Lounge" article, until I kept listening to it. Now I jumped on the Stones' bandwagon when, in 1974 (when I was 14) I caught the last four minutes of a Don Kirshner's Rock Concert where Mick was frolicking around in a sailor suit with the rest of the boys, diamonds a jangle and mascara everywhere. "It's Only Rock & Roll" indeed. I realized then, they were fun and I was gay. I've been happy ever since.
Every Stones album at least had a couple of gems, even the really crappy ones (Goat's Head Soup had "Angie" and "Heartbreaker"; Only Rock & Roll had "Luxury" and "It's Only Rock & Roll"; Black & Blue had "Fool to Cry" and "Melody"; even the botched double live Love You Live had a ripping "Starfuture" and a smokey "Sympathy for the Devil"). But Voodoo Lounge has only "The Worst" (another wretched sounding Keith Richards ballad better sung at 4 AM), "I Go Wild," "You Got Me Rocking" (essentially lame rave-ups that these guys would knock off in their sleep), and some track about a new car (amusing, but not nearly as amusing as "Far Away Eyes").
The tip-off is obviously the cover. Rolling Stones albums always had nifty covers. Some Girls, Sticky Fingers, Black & Blue, Tattoo You--but after Steel Wheels (which looked like gift wrap) I began to wonder. Voodoo Lounge is a great title and concept--I'd like to see what Screaming Jay Hawkins would do with it, but the Stones don't deliver on it.
Evidently Bill Wyman quit because he realized that a bunch of 50-year-olds singing about "I'm gonna move in real fast / I'm gonna fuck yer sweet ass" was more than a little silly. I mean, these men have done the best booze in the world, overcome the most luxuriant drug habits, have screwed everything wearing panties and ended up married to some of the world's most beautiful white women, are richer than most countries, have billions of admirers, and have always had the last word. Evidently there's no reason to "Not Fade Away." Voodoo Lounge is the first completely disposable Rolling Stones album ever, and damn the media for calling it "compelling."