Throughout last year's presidential election, Mick Jagger held his tongue. But on the Rolling Stones' first studio album in eight years, A Bigger Bang, Jagger unleashes a barbed political track, "Sweet Neo Con," an open attack on the Bush administration that rips hypocritical Christians and patriots, rising gas prices, "prison without trial" and Vice President Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton.
Jagger has told friends that the song is not about Bush specifically but is a stab at the neo-con worldview and policies.
Jagger says he wrote the song quickly, and the subject matter surprised the band. "I have my opinions, which I've stated in the tune," Jagger told USA Today. "Maureen Dowd is no more qualified to have opinions than I am."
"Sweet Neo Con," which is not one of the new album's first three singles, has caused trickles of controversy -- Fox News' Brian Kilmeade argued that the song makes the band unfit to partner with the NFL, which will air Stones concert footage all season on Monday Night Football. Even Keith Richards had misgivings about the song at first. "I didn't want this to be a diversionary storm," he told USA Today. "I thought potentially it would detract attention from the rest of the album and be seen as cheap publicity. We don't need that. But I told Mick, 'If you really feel like you want to say that, I'll back you all the way.'"