Boobs on the Boulevard: The Rolling Stones Return, Improbably but Inevitably, With “Angry,” and HACKNEY DIAMONDS, Their First New Album in 18 Years

Gregory Weinkauf
5 min readSep 8, 2023

Cockney glottal-stops popping, one can imagine the board meeting: “Mates, fecking Indiana Jones is eigh’y, roigh’? ‘e’s back again, wha’ve we go’?”

On this new album, Hackney Diamonds, with the combined ages of the four surviving Rolling Stones currently totaling 321 years — that’s three hundred twenty-one — it’s hardly “ageist” to note the peculiarity of full-on senior citizens delivering full-on bad-boy rawk. What to make of this? Mick Jagger is 80, Keith Richards is 79, and the baby of their trio, Ronnie Wood, is a dewy 76. (Elder statesman Bill Wyman, 86, also returns to play on this record, as does Charlie Watts apparently, who died two years ago, and would have been 82. Add it up: five guys, four centuries.)

The next question is: “Oi! ‘ow we gonna sell this?” Hm. Obviously few people enjoy aging, or even observing aging, particularly Americans, so bin the Speedos-at-Mick’s-château concept. Rumination ensues, then finally: “‘ow’s abou’ a young tart wif’ ‘er squidgy bits ‘angin’ out?” offers a Stone (who shall remain nameless). This vision meets with unanimous approval, and suddenly, on 6 September, 2023, we have “Angry,” a new (or “new”) Rolling Bones, er, Stones, music video.

I was mildly intrigued. Never a huge fan, I’ve generally liked or at least tolerated the Rolling Stones, who’ve always been a component of my sonic landscape. Their early stuff and their later-middle-early stuff sits best with me, and I’ve only ever bought one of their records, a 45 rpm single, on a whim at Musicland. I’ve seen them live in concert twice, and they were pretty good. Mick once insulted a friend of mine, and you don’t insult my friends (have at the frenemies), so he could use some etiquette classes, but in general I consider the Rolling Stones to be among the world’s more amusing scallywags.

A comprehensive history of the Stones’ six-decades-plus career you may find somewhere, but not here, in this article. Judging by the video for “Angry,” however, some frenzied marketing executives must have crashed that board meeting, shouting, “Fine! Boobage! Fine! But we gotta sell the back catalog!” Thus, in the video, does the aforementioned boobage travel along Sunset Boulevard, cavorting atop a tomato-red convertible driven by a bizarrely dispassionate hundred-dollar extra, intercut and interacting with live-action billboards featuring the significantly younger Stones rawking out from selected iconic moments of their considerable past. While it would have been a lot cheaper to leave the caption “BUY OUR OLD RECORDS AGAIN” onscreen for three and a half minutes, the effect is impressive, perhaps fun — even if, given the famous location (which I’ve traversed countless times), the video also seems to be begging: “Populace, please return to entertainment venues! We miss your money!

Even as someone standing a pleasant distance outside the cult of the lips and tongue, I appreciated seeing imagery from Exile on Main Street, Some Girls, Tattoo You, and whatever else. It’s all part of our pop-culture history, and whoever directed this clip, and especially the digital animators, did a sensational job. Watching it, it’s easy to forget that it’s 2023, and lately the world has been less about Rolling Stones and more about dire straits. That counts for something.

The actress is this week’s sexpot, attempting, right down to the obligatory convertible, to do for the Stones what Alicia Silverstone did for “the American Stones,” Aerosmith (though the latter’s career continues to impress). The pattern within her leather “stockings” or “leggings” or whatever they are clearly was consciously chosen, and it’s impossible to miss, but what it signifies may be interpreted by pundits on Reddit, or not.

As for the song itself, “Angry,” this is the strangest part of the overall confection. When I first heard the title, I felt a sense of dread — please don’t revive Grunge, or feature Mick pretending to be Nick Cave — and, phew, it’s not that. Rather, it’s a bouncy, by-the-numbers little number about a guy pleading with his lover — presumably a much, much, much younger lover — not to wax vituperative in his general direction. “Angry” is hook-laden, earning yellow-alert earworm status, and it unsubtly shouts: STONES! Which is fine; for that’s who they are, and they sound like themselves. What puzzles me is that, after the veteran rockers’ many years at the drawing board, the song attempts nothing approaching thematic depth — no elder wisdom on display here — and it’s truly a bad fit for a lead single with a video about a hottie cruising Sunset (more confusingly, she sings along: who is this song even about?) But relax, blokes; I don’t hate it.

Having myself toiled at a harsh job on Sunset — I had to wear a tie. Every day. — beyond the blunt titillation and the shameless nostalgia, I’m happy to report that I get an extra chuckle out of the video, which spans the daylight hours into actual sunset, and into the night, which is about how long it takes to endure the traffic and drive along that damned street. Surely the infrastructure commentary is unintentional, but I dig it.

In closing, I haven’t heard the rest of Hackney Diamonds (releasing 20 October), and I tried to watch the promotional video featuring the temporarily unemployed Tonight Show host mysteriously interviewing Messrs. Jagger, Richards, and Wood, but, typically, he mocks and upstages his legendary guests, rendering the event unwatchable. (Brilliantly timed from the perfect outlet, Rolling Stone magazine simultaneously published an exposé revealing that guy to be a toxic, terrible boss; shocker.) Meanwhile, despite how easy it would be to demolish the “Angry” video with a mere tap to its cynical underpinnings, instead I’m going to take stock of where we really stand these days, and to recall how important it’s been in “better times” for hordes of the not-so-great unwashed to crowd into stupid football stadia for decades on end to celebrate some skinny pallid Britons practicing epic levels of cultural appropriation by pretending to be old Black Bluesmen. And in that spirit, that whiff of half-forgotten abnormal normality, I can afford this latest and truly late Stones offering a slightly more-than-tentative “not bad.”

This isn’t Monterey Pop, nor Stop Making Sense, but it’s a Pop Culture Moment we can share, so bring it.

Oh, here’s the video:



Gregory Weinkauf

Writer-director-producer Gregory earned a Cinema degree from USC SCA, worked many industry jobs, and won L.A. Press Club’s top Entertainment Journalism award.