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Rock - Released February 9, 1993 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Jagger doesn't show any signs of wear on his third -- and by far best -- solo album. If anything, his voice seems to have developed a deeper bottom end without sacrificing any of the highs. This is not always an advantage -- the forced falsetto and rhythmic pulse of "Sweet Thing" causes a nightmarish flashback to the Stones' disco flirtations in the mid-'70s. But more times than not, this disc works. A lot of the credit goes to Jagger's backing band and producer Rick Rubin who keep things lean, mean, and simple. The economy of performance allows Jagger to remain credible on a wide variety of styles -- he delivers a groovin', sultry version of Bill Withers' soul classic "Use Me," a passionate country ballad on "Evening Gown," and even pulls off an Irish traditional folk piece with "Handsome Molly." © Roch Parisien /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2004 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released November 19, 2001 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Mick Jagger had struggled with launching his solo career for over 15 years when he unleashed Goddess in the Doorway. Although he was one of the most famous men on earth, he couldn't separate himself from the Stones no matter how hard he tried, and he tried so hard that many of his struggles appeared desperate. Whereas the Stones incorporated reggae, disco, and punk effortlessly into their core sound, Jagger's attempts to sound contemporary came across as him desperately flailing about to stay hip. This was the curse of his solo career, from the outset on She's the Boss, through the generally strong Primitive Cool, which was sunk when he decided to perform aerobics on "Let's Work." Jagger briefly shed this complex on 1993's excellent Wandering Spirit -- along with Keith Richards' Talk Is Cheap, one of the two genuine gems in the Stones' solo catalog -- which raised hopes for Goddess, since he seemed willing to bare his soul and keep the music direct the last time out, and the Stones' efforts that followed also shared similar qualities. And that's why Goddess is rather disappointing (of course, it doesn't help that such peers as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and Elton John delivered stellar albums within months -- or even on the same day -- as Goddess). This finds Jagger once again striving to sound sleek, commercial, and hip, winding up with an album that could have been released in 1987. This is shiny, impeccably produced mainstream rock, occasionally blessed with Jagger's falsetto or sly turn phase, but dominated by its self-conscious, middlebrow attempt to cover all the bases: slinky dance tunes, some contemporary rhythms, hints of the Stones, tamed raunch, and frothy pop songs dressed up to have the appearance of grit. This all makes it sound worse than it actually plays, since it is all professionally done and rather melodic, but it never escapes Jagger's nervous desire to sound contemporary -- an instinct that backfires on him, since all the studio gloss embalms the record, making it sound like an artifact rather than a vibrant effort from a veteran with something to say. It's the kind of record that you expect from somebody who's been making records for nearly 40 years and still wants to remain hip, and it's not bad on that level, but when it stands next to the brilliant albums by Dylan, Sire Paul, and Sir Elton in 2001 -- records where the veterans didn't care about being hip and wound up returning to what they did best, confirming why they're legends -- it's all too clear what Goddess in the Doorway is missing. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 19, 1985 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Jagger employs a who's who including Herbie Hancock, Pete Townshend, and Jeff Beck for an album that replaces the familiar sound of the Stones with a more sophisticated but no less hard-rock sound. And the voice is familiar. Features the hit "Just Another Night." © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 27, 2017 | Polydor Records

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Rock - Released October 1, 2007 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

There is no rock star greater than Mick Jagger. There are plenty other as great, but nobody eclipses Mick in terms of art and influence, as he virtually created the modern-day rock & roll rebel. Given that, why is it that almost nobody takes his solo recordings seriously? Even his longtime partner Keith Richards is quoted on record calling Jagger's 2001 album Goddess in the Doorway "Dogsh*t in the doorway," a tacit signal that all the dismissive reviews of Jagger's solo stuff were not only justified, but appropriate -- a judgment that may be a bit extreme, but in a way it's understandable, because Jagger's solo recordings showcased his least lovable aspects, particularly his relentless social climbing and obsession with style. In the Rolling Stones, this trend-chasing clashed with Richards' stubborn traditionalism, a creative tension that often resulted in tremendous music, but on his own Jagger was able to indulge his taste for fleeting fashion, which gave his solo albums a brittle, dated sound that also accentuated his cold, mercenary edge, which, in turn, made them feel a bit desperate. The Very Best of Mick Jagger, the first-ever compilation of his solo career, doesn't erase that impression, but it does illustrate some merit in it. By not relying strictly on hit singles and mixing in solo cuts from the '70s, when Jagger had yet to start his solo career in earnest, this 17-track set paints a better picture of what Jagger was attempting to achieve outside the Stones, capturing a rocker desperate to leave his status as the leader of the greatest rock & roll band ever far behind. Only "Memo from Turner," his contribution to the 1970 film Performance, truly treads close to the Stones, a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Checkin' Up on My Baby," an unreleased track from his 1993 session with the L.A. blues band the Red Devils, coming in a close second. Jagger's solo career was all about running away from the Stones, but it's nice to have that reminder of his strengths here, since so much of his solo career is so carefully competent, playing to the sounds of the time, whether it's the stiff Nile Rodgers dance-rock of "Just Another Night," the tasteful classicism of the Rick Rubin-produced Wandering Spirit, or the featureless studio sheen of Goddess in the Doorway. More than anything, it's the productions that hurt the Jagger solo albums, as they lack the heart and muscle of the Stones, substituting it for careful craft. At least that sense of craft could still be heard in many of the songs, and many of the best are here, including his first solo hits "Lucky in Love" and "Just Another Night," but also latter-day songs like the lively "Put Me the Trash" and the terrific country tune "Evening Gown." These are solid songs; they're only weighed down by the professional polish, so determined to fit into the mainstream that it winds up being too bland. And that's why all the odd detours that are sprinkled through the album stand out so much: not just "Memo from Turner" and "Checkin' Up on My Baby," but his duet with Peter Tosh on "(You Got to Walk And) Don't Look Back," his goofy duet with David Bowie on "Dancing in the Street," and especially, the John Lennon-produced disco of "Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)," heavily bootlegged but unreleased until now and easily the highlight of this collection. These are times where the music is alive and unpredictable, a perfect contrast to Mick's meticulousness -- which, of course, means they feel like the Stones, which is why Jagger never followed their path on his actual solo albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 14, 1987 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

For his second solo album, Mick Jagger teamed up with producer Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), turning in a more adventurous and ambitious record. Of course, "adventurous" and "ambitious" are relative terms. In comparison to the carefully constructed, state-of-the-art pop/rock of She's the Boss, Primitive Cool sounds lively, as Jagger puts some genuine conviction behind the funky "Peace for the Wicked" and the country stylings of "Party Doll." Nevertheless, the album, like She's the Boss before it, is designed to establish Mick Jagger as a solo star in his own right, and Primitive Cool is filled with attempts at contemporary rock and dance-pop. The nadir of his stabs at modern pop is the appalling single "Let's Work," where the rock star tells his fans to get off their asses and start working, all to a bouncy, aerobicized beat. However, most of the album is more appealing than the single, even if Jagger's writing seems forced on the numbers designed with the Top 40 in mind ("Shoot Off Your Mouth," in particular). Not surprisingly, the best moments on Primitive Cool occur when he stops seeing the album as a way to jump-start his solo career and he concentrates on the music. While his emotionally unguarded songs ("War Baby" and "Party Doll") are the most affecting tracks on the record, songs like "Let's Work" are more indicative of Jagger's true feelings. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 27, 2017 | Polydor Records

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Rock - Released July 27, 2017 | Polydor Records