After 18 years, the Rolling Stones release a new album.

The Rolling Stones have confirmed the release date and track listing for their first album of new music in nearly two decades.

It includes guest appearances by Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, and former Stones bassist Bill Wyman, as well as late drummer Charlie Watts’ final recordings with the band, who performs on two tracks.

The still-thrilling image of “Jagger-Richards” featured throughout the songwriting credits in Hackney Diamonds – east London slang for broken window glass outside a heist. It’s the first album of new music created by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards since 2005’s A Bigger Bang, and the first studio album of any type since Blue & Lonesome, a collection of blues covers released in 2016.

Andrew Watt, the album’s producer, contributes as a co-writer on three tracks. Watt is known for overseeing recent hit albums by singers such as Elton John, Justin Bieber, Iggy Pop, Post Malone, and Miley Cyrus.

Angry, the album’s first single and opening track, was released at the announcement of the album: Driven by a classic Stones riff and strutting rhythm, Jagger is in riotous form as he mopes about a lovers’ squabble. “It hasn’t rained in a month, the river’s run dry / we haven’t made love and I wanna know why,” the 80-year-old singer moans, before storming out in the coda: “I’m still taking the pills / and I’m off to Brazil.”

The album’s reviews are now embargoed ahead of its October 20 release date, and other A-list guests are to be announced, but the Guardian was given an early listen. The adrenaline is frequently strong, with one blisteringly fast rock’n’roll song joined by a slew of others with the Stones’ trademark high-tempo swagger, including one with a disco bassline. There are also stripped-down blues songs, bucolic country rockers, and lighters-aloft pop-rock ballads.

Following a teaser in the Hackney Gazette, Jagger, Richards, and Ronnie Wood unveiled the record at a press conference at the Hackney Empire theatre in east London, in conversation with US talkshow host – and frequent Jagger lookalike – Jimmy Fallon.

“I don’t want to be arrogant,” Jagger continued, surrounded by shattered chandeliers and a glitter-strewn tongue logo split into shards, “but we wouldn’t have released this record if we didn’t really like it.”

It was a heartbreaking sight without Watts, who died in August 2021 at the age of 80 after playing with the band since its beginning in 1963. Steve Jordan now plays drums for the band, and will perform on their 60th anniversary tour in 2022, as well as on nine Hackney Diamonds songs.

“Ever since Charlie’s gone, it’s been different – he’s number four, he’s missing,” Richards, now 79, explained. “Of course, he’s been missed tremendously. But, thanks to Charlie Watts, we now have Steve Jordan – his advice that if something happens to him, he’s your man.”

The cause of Watts’ death was not revealed, but Richards suggested last year that he died of cancer, stating, “I think he’d been trying to keep it under wraps for a while last year, so [his death] came as quite a shock.” He’d had a bout with cancer about a year prior. And he came out on top. He just had a double whammy, bless his soul.”

On stage, the group was in excellent comic form, with Jagger looking sprightly in a black brocade bomber jacket as he leaped up from his chair to present the record. “Perhaps we were a little too lazy,” he added of the 18-year wait. “All of a sudden, we decided to set a deadline… We got it done quickly. There were many ideas going about, and we gathered them just before Christmas.” By Valentine’s Day, the album had been recorded and mixed, with Watt having “kicked us up the arse,” as Jagger put it.

The 76-year-old Wood said of performing with Van Morrison and others in between tours, “You’ve got to keep your fingers moving when you get to our age – keep everything moving.” Richards responded, “I could marry them all, maaaan!” when asked if he ever married someone who came to a Stones show.

Richards sings Tell Me Straight, one of the album’s 12 songs, prompting rounds of laughter from the audience: “I can tell you straight that I have no idea what it’s about.” Mick tried to take it, so you can be sure it’s good.”

Sydney Sweeney, best known for her appearances in The White Lotus and Euphoria, features in the Angry video and was in the front row at the Hackney Empire. “I freaked out, called my family, and brought my mum,” she said of receiving the call to appear. “This is the biggest thing ever.”

It was a greater occasion than the first Stones news conference, Jagger added, with hordes of people outside and swaths of international journalists inside. “Keith and I were in a pub on Denmark Street [in downtown London] with two NME and Melody Maker journalists. We bought them a beer and handed them our album.”