Album: Mick Jagger

Goddess In The Doorway, Virgin
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The Independent Culture

Like many a superannuated superstar jaded by a lifetime of indulgence, Mick Jagger currently seems to be engaged on some kind of spiritual search, judging by Goddess In The Doorway. The album opens with him seeing "Visions Of Paradise", then in successive songs we find him "driving across the desert in my four-wheel-drive, looking for Buddha" and "Crying for salvation/There was nothing there at all" – the last word stretched and twisted grotesquely to occupy half-a-dozen syllables, as if he were reluctant to let it out. Elsewhere his ear for metaphor settles, perhaps significantly, on religious horrors, with mentions of Inquisitor's torture devices and a pit of snakes though exactly what form his spiritual odyssey is taking remains unclear. What is clear is that he needs a Keef to lean on: the better tracks here are mostly those featuring a surrogate Glimmer Twin, such as Lenny Kravitz on the routine raunch-rocker "God Gave Me Everything", and Aerosmith's Joe Perry on "Everybody Getting High", the closest thing here to the Stones. Musically, however, it's certainly not a modern album, relying heavily on various shades of dated American AOR and eschewing almost completely the rootsier funk, soul and reggae modes that usually clutter his releases; the closest he gets here is the mild funk number "Hide Away", which under Wyclef Jean's tender ministrations takes on the slightest of Caribbean flavours. Sadly, it's probably the best track.

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