In reality, Goddess in the Doorway rings in as a splendid addition to the ever-widening canon of Famous Old People Music (current ringleader: Sting). Mellow, ballady pop tunes. A few token "rockers." Pleas for diversity via a fake-reggae number and a subwoofing dance-club crossover attempt. Myriad guest collaborators -- mostly guitarists. String sections, gospel choirs. Pleasant, but obvious. All lips and no teeth.
You get what you give. Goddess leads off with "Vision of Paradise," co-written with the youngest of the Famous Old People -- Rob Thomas. Mick lends his endearingly nicotine-destroyed pipes to a melancholy, driving little piano number that's somber and satisfying. Not bad. Certainly the best Matchbox Twenty song ever. But sheesh, Mick, can't ya do any better?
No. The subsequent guest stars on Goddess flail wildly. Bono drags a gospel choir through the cheeseball spiritual fakery of "Joy." Lenny "Cream Puff" Kravitz unloads a mookish four-chord grunt rocker with "God Gave Me Everything." Wyclef Jean gets a static hip-hop beat to fumble around with on "Hideaway." Mick tries his damnedest to keep the focus on him, offering up broken-heart elegies like "Don't Call Me Up" and the surprisingly loud "Gun." But given the supermodels-on-the-D problem, Jagger's attempts at pity or emotional understanding don't even toss off a whiff of authenticity. It's Famous Old People Music, well-adorned but empty. Kinda like a Playboy bunny.