Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Mick Jagger ft. Skepta – England Lost

So this did not go as hard as geometry, trigonometry even…


Ian Mathers: It certainly did.

Alfred Soto: My grandmother won’t mix a martini or do a somersault. Innovation is an overrated virtue for aging artists, and critics should stop expecting it. If Mick Jagger’s fusion of blues raunch and English distance still excites you, then he should keep recording this music. Going back to 1985, Jagger has spent millions of pounds in search of contemporary context that persuade him he has a life outside the Stones. There’s no reason why Skepta’s state-of-the-nation reportage overlain over Jagger’s typically excellent harmonica couldn’t create a cool frisson with the guy who sang “Hang Fire.” It’s not that Jagger-the-plutocrat has no business commenting on post-Brexit England — he’s a smart guy, he reads the papers, he’s earned it — but the result still sounds complacent, a nice try.

Nortey Dowuona: I listened to the original and it was haphazard, clumsy and ultimately empty. The Skepta verse is pretty cool but not as direct as needed.

Thomas Inskeep: It’s hard to top what friend of the Jukebox Stephen Thomas Erlewine said about this misguided mess: “It’s 2017 and Mick Jagger is still intent on making his solo career happen.” Mick’s first solo record in 16 years was self-written and -produced, so he’s the only one who can be blamed for it. Not even Skepta (who’s sunk to the level of the song) can save this steaming pile of “modern” production and “political” statements.

Stephen Eisermann: I quite like the music in this, but my God is this a terrible song. Any good will gained by the music (and, kind of, Skepta) is thrown out the window by Mick repeating the same line probably thirty times. The metaphor isn’t interesting, it isn’t intelligent, and it isn’t even really relevant to what happened. Maybe it’s that I expect more from Mick than a subpar entry into the political music genre, but I’m tired of giving a free pass for mediocrity to legacy artists simply because their older output is legendary. England lost, yeah, but so did Mick with this half-baked attempt at being edgy.

Scott Mildenhall: Clearly this is very subtle: Jagger is talking about England vs Iceland — in the Cod Wars of the 1960s and 1970s, that is, in which international geopolitics relating to the Cold War became a large contributory factor in the anyway-inevitable decline of a number of British fishing communities, something which became conflated with the effects of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and would have been a big factor somewhere at the front or back of many minds when the UK went to vote last June. No? Well it’s hard to imagine people looking to Mick Jagger for searing political meditation in 2017 anyway. Him deadpanning “I didn’t wanna come anyway”, like Jilted John fronting Black Grape, harder still.

Mark Sinker: He says “lost” and no doubt means something by it. Once — as well as being brazenly vain and ruthlessly shallow — Jagger was a clever and a wryly cruel and funny writer, quick to find a figure for the good and more often the bad in the change he saw round him. Change is once again come — perhaps back in the other direction –but all he reaches for here is a sporting metaphor, which comes with a mood but not much more. It hurts when when your team loses. It’s bad. Yes, but what’s bad? What’s gone lost? Why can’t he invoke what he misses? I don’t actually even think something has gone lost — there was never a gorgeous legendary England that everyone loved because it loved them back. It’s more like several things have returned, or anyway resurfaced, stepped up out of the subtext into the vicious day. Some of them are very frightening, and thus unfamiliar — if only to the comfortable and the incurious. The times feel open as they haven’t for decades, and open at least means that it isn’t necessarily now only bad outcomes hurtling at us. Open means the option of taking another direction: one that doesn’t just get us back stuck here? Fair to say this does catch the flavour of everything we should be glad to see go: the grinding, same-old-same-old, self-punishing mediocrity of it all, week after week after week after week — but his wiry, reedy whine is glue-drowned in the loping blues-murk of the sound, and Skepta, who isn’t even on top form, easily has the best of it. We lost because we played badly, dude: we didn’t train and we didn’t think. The weather is just the weather, you can’t blame the weather. 

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8 Responses to “Mick Jagger ft. Skepta – England Lost”

  1. I couldn’t blurb this because I was out of the country, but the subhead is ???

  2. i’m biased but ian is a perfect human being

  3. It is crazy! psychology https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjIwmJMqrco

  4. Actually are those question marks or just things that aren’t showing up properly for me? Sorry if I’ve explained the obvious there.

  5. as much as I hope they are flame emojis, I understand if they’re question marks, the reference is a bit of a stretch

  6. The subhead nearly made me choke on a burrito. So thank you.

  7. Not showing up – I meant to give thumbs emojis!

  8. The subhead is perfect