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The Listener

Mick Jagger's new ‘anti-Brexit’ songs are a cut-and-paste job

'England Lost' at least has a soupçon of wit, whereas 'Gotta Get A Grip' is unburdened by any humour at all

12 August 2017

9:00 AM

12 August 2017

9:00 AM

Two songs in which Sir Michael informs us that he is distressed by both Brexit and Donald Trump. Released with, according to the 70-year-old singer, ‘urgency’: he can see that we are in trouble and was naturally anxious to help us out. The first, ‘England Lost’, is at least redeemed by a soupçon of wit. Jagger explains that he went to see England play football but that they lost, and he got wet in the rain. But it then turns into a sort of state of the nation thing, by the simple addition of an apostrophe and the letter ‘s’. England’s lost, he bemoans, and chucks in an incoherent allusion regarding our preoccupation with immigration.

Then there’s ‘Gotta Get A Grip’, unburdened by any kind of wit at all. Here, Jagger complains that the world is led by lunatics and clowns. ‘The news is all fake/ Let ’em eat chicken and let ’em eat steak/ Let ’em eat shit, let ’em eat cake.’ How very true that is. The music? The Rolling Stones have been plundered by countless bands so I don’t object to Jagger pillaging mid-period Led Zeppelin for the riffs on ‘England Lost’. A cut-and-paste hip-hop beat and some ur-rap drags the song, kicking and screaming, from 1974. ‘Gotta Get A Grip’, meanwhile, sounds like an outtake from pretty much any 1980s Stones album.

I always thought the Stones were more convincing when imitating poor white Americans (‘Dead Flowers’ and ‘Torn And Frayed’) than poor black Americans (‘Fingerprint File’ and ‘Miss You’). And incalculably better as a band than as solo artists. Even Keef. But especially Mick.

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