Rolling Stones: John Reader/Life Magazine/TimePix
Michael Endelman
September 19, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Neptunes remixing the Stones? We grade it

With great fanfare, rock & roll dinosaurs the Rolling Stones have made a belated leap into the digital age. Their catalog has just become available on such MP3 websites as Rhapsody and iTunes. In addition, Mick & Co. have released a maxi-single with three versions of their 1968 classic ”Sympathy for the Devil,” remixed by modern beat makers the Neptunes, Fatboy Slim, and Full Phatt. It’s a rather cool idea; unfortunately, the resulting music isn’t. Guess the devil made them do it.

THE NEPTUNES REMIX The ubiquitous hip-hop production duo’s rendition starts off strong — there’s a nifty sitar and a conga that recalls the Rolling Stones’ take — but it’s got none of that Neptunes bump. In fact, the 35-year-old original is much funkier than this midtempo re-rub. What happened, fellas?

FATBOY SLIM REMIX For a guy who knows a thing or two about fist-pumping club anthems and block-rockin’ beats, Fatboy Slim turns in a surprisingly toothless and tame version. Club kids will appreciate the acid-house tweaks at the very end, but merely tossing in a pilfered breakbeat does not count as a remix, Mr. Slim.

FULL PHATT REMIX We’re unsure of who Full Phatt is, but we’d hate to hear what Half Phatt sounds like. Lame and uninspired.

THE ORIGINAL With its exotic conga intro and screaming guitar lead, plenty of ”whoo-whoos,” and Mick’s best Beelzebub imitation, this is some truly evil rock & roll that’s well worth selling your soul for.

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