The Rolling Stones are back, if it could even be argued that they went away in the first place. Well into their golden years (Keith Richards something something vampire something something), the band still tours somewhat frequently. They notably played the Desert Trip festival last October, dubbed Oldchella because of its lineup of baby-boomer-friendly rock (Neil Young, The Who, Paul McCartney, etc.) and the fact that it was put on by the same people that promote Coachella. It can be easily said that the elder statesman of rock have kept busy in the past few years.
One thing the Rolling Stones don’t do often is release new music. Their last album, A Bigger Bang, was released more than a decade ago (and that was arguably their most critically well regarded record since 1981’s Tattoo You). In 2016, however, they did something a bit different, releasing a full new album consisting entirely of old blues covers, titled Blue & Lonesome. And even though the other classic-rock-radio band with a big-lipped lead singer did the exact same thing in 2004, it’s a solid concept that really plays to the band’s strengths (blues covers have been highlights on classic Stones albums in the past). They even filmed a sharp new video for the lead single, a cover of Eddie Taylor’s Ride ‘Em On Down, starring Twilight-star-turned-arthouse-it-girl Kristen Stewart.
In the video, Stewart leaves a convenience store, six-pack and shocking-blue lollipop in hand, and proceeds to tear up what looks like an abandoned post-apocalyptic Los Angeles in a muscle car. It should be noted that this abandoned cityscape is adorned with Rolling Stones billboards, presenting a pretty obvious joke about the band’s seeming immortality. She stops at a gas station to dance, cruises past a car that is on fire, and basically makes the best of what looks like a fairly dire situation. She swerves all over the place because, again, it appears that there’s no life left on earth. That is, up until an ex-con (by way of American Eagle model) looking dude in a cop car pulls her over, asking where she got gas for her ride. Towards the end of the video, she comes across a zebra in what is probably the L.A. River, the ubiquitous filming location where that big chase from Terminator 2 happens. The video is directed by François Rousselet, who is one half of Jonas and François, the notable French music video directing pair behind Justice’s massively popular D.A.N.C.E. video.