Last week saw Rock & Roll Hall of Famers The Rolling Stones release their latest single “Angry”, which leads the band’s upcoming album Hackney Diamonds, set to release on October 20.
The single was paired with a music video starring Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney, which has already racked up over 16 million views on YouTube. The album is set to release after an 18 year hiatus of original songs by The Rolling Stones and was hinted at in an email sent out to fans to hype up the album.
The infamous band officially debuted the new single and introduced their Hackney Diamonds era to audiences internationally with Jimmy Fallon on a special global live stream event earlier this month on YouTube.
“We were throwing ideas around for album titles… went from ‘Hit & Run’, ‘Smash & Grab’ and somehow between that came up with Hackney Diamonds.. a variation of the both. And also… it’s a London band, y’know.” (Keith Richards Talking with Jimmy Fallon).
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The new The Rolling Stones single was produced by Andrew Watt, who’s also contributed background vocals and percussion, with the accompanying music video being directed by acclaimed French director François Rousselet, who’s best known for his slick promos for artists including Kanye West, Madonna, Depeche Mode, Jack White and Snoop Dogg.
The music video opens with Sweeney riding the back of a red Mercedes convertible through the streets of Los Angeles, clad in a black leather outfit, synonymous with the early rock style which The Stones originated from and did so well to shape. Footage of the band performing throughout the years plays out on approaching billboards, lip-synced almost perfectly with the words of the newly released single.
During an earlier press conference, Sweeney said she “freaked out” when The Rolling Stones asked her to appear in the music video, calling it the “biggest thing ever”.
“I didn’t know it was gonna be the first single, but I loved the song when I heard it,” she added. “It’s been stuck in my head.”
The video is inspired by photographer Robert Landau’s 2016 book Rock n’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip which documented the proliferation of ads for rock n roll bands in West Hollywood between the sixties and eighties.
Rousselet used archival footage of the Stones’ previous performances and music videos, digitally replacing ads on the Sunset strip’s current billboards, allowing vintage versions of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood to perform the song as Sweeney rocks out past them in the vintage cherry-red convertible.
The acclaimed director previously worked with the Stones on their video for their release of “Ride ‘Em on Down”, a blues cover from the 2016 album Blue & Lonesome. The video possessed similar elements to Rousselet’s latest work, featuring Kristen Stewart rocking out in a lonesome downtown Los Angeles and driving a blue Mustang along dusty roads.
How the Iconic Music Video was Made
The filming crew behind “Angry” were accompanied by a single police escort helping clear the way along the busy Los Angeles street, with Rouselett hopping in and out of the vintage convertible to get some of the iconic close-ups of Sweeney which appear in the video.
Some watching bystanders recognised Sweeney from her previous acting gigs and jumped at the opportunity to snag some photos; but, as another day in Los Angeles where a popular actress fitted in black leather and riding the back of an old convertible is probably the norm, the production was barely halted as passers-by went on their way.
Despite production being rushed and a little behind schedule, the video-clip was shot using 35-millimeter film, famously taking more time and effort to produce than digital video, however much of the Stones’ archival footage was shot using 16-millimeter film, meaning it would have most likely looked mismatched when paired against digital video.
The process of filming the video-clip proved to be the easy part, with editing proving a cumbersome task later on. For Rouselett, fitting the archival video footage with the lyrics and instrumentals of the new song proved a challenge as he and his editor combed through the Stones’ old footage in search of words and mouth shapes which resembled the lyrics of the group’s new single.
Editing became time consuming with Rousellet continuing work on the music video in late August, just weeks before its release. Shots of the billboards were swapped around to make them almost perfectly synced, ensuring certain images of Jagger, Richards and Wood weren’t overused.
Despite the band’s record label refusing a lyric video to be released with the single, Rousellet included two billboards displaying lyrics from the song; one reading “Angry” and another with Jagger’s words “I’m still taking the pills and I’m off to Brazil”, simply because the filmmaker liked the use of the words so much.
The video-clip totally embodies the coolness of the Stones. The use of Sydney Sweeney fits the legacy of the group’s use of famous Hollywood actresses, nodding to the band’s past videos featuring Angelina Jolie and Patricia Arquette. The Mercedes convertible was even modified to fit a Stones’ lips-and-tongue emblem in place of the usual hood ornament and a point was made to include footage of the Stones’ late drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021.
The music video has received massive online praise from fans, hyping up the upcoming release of Hackney Diamonds on October 20 and putting The Rolling Stones back in the spotlight after taking an 18 year hiatus from releasing originals.
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