RECORDS / New Releases: Rolling Stones: Jump Back - The Best of the Rolling Stones 71-93 (Virgin, LP/CD/tape)

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The Independent Culture
There are two ways of looking at this album. The first is that it is a small scandal - a compilation which serves no artistic purpose, thrown together by the Stones' new record company in a cynical attempt to get the die-hard fan to pay pounds 12 for something he already has (he'd probably have to be a he). He has it, what's more, in compilation form: out of 18 songs here, no fewer than 11 appeared on Rewind (1984). That set began in 1971 too. The difference was that it ended when it said it ended. This one stops at 1989, but can't bring itself to say so. It's a sorry come down from the heights of Rolled Gold. The second way of looking at the album takes over when you actually play it. Up goes the rallying cry of Keith Richards' last great intro ('Start Me Up'), and it would take a stony pair of ears to resist it. After that you get all the hits (not that many, in fact) plus a handful of rockers and shockers ('Bitch', 'Wild Horses', 'Hot Stuff', 'Respectable'). Presumably included to remind us how dangerous the Stones once were, they also show how safe they have become ('Mixed Emotions'). Safe doesn't mean bad: also here is 'Waiting on a Friend', the lovely country-pop ballad that gets more touching as the years go by. In short, a pointless album, but a very good one: recommended if you haven't got Rewind.