The Very Best Of Mick Jagger [W/Bonus Tracks]

Mick Jagger is one of rock's greatest singers and songwriters. That is common knowledge. This should be: He has written and recorded superb work outside the double-guitar tangle of the Rolling Stones, and this collection proves it, going back to the sneering evil of 1970's "Memo From Turner" and climaxing with the sublime country soul of "Evening Gown," from 1993's Wandering Spirit. Many of these songs are about having it all and realizing that still isn't enough: the pneumatic rock of "God Gave Me Everything" the dark jangle of "Old Habits Die Hard," from the Alfie soundtrack; the ironic jump of the 1992 demo "Charmed Life." That is also a recurring theme in Jagger's determined R&B modernism, from the synth drums that time-stamp 1985's "Just Another Night"to the wiry funk of Spirit's "Sweet Thing" and Jagger's pop-gospel romp with Bono, "Joy," from 2001's Goddess in the Doorway. But it is in the ballads — the dynamic climb of "Don't Call Me Up," the heated devotion in "Evening Gown" — where confession and exploration quietly meet and burn. In comparison, the rarities here are straightforward fun: a 1973 soul fling with John Lennon and a Sonny Boy Williamson cover from Jagger's all-blues "˜92 session with L.A. band the Red Devils, which still deserves to be an album in its own right.