Saturday, June 20, 2020

With Emotional Rescue The Rolling Stones revert to bad habits

The Rolling Stones : Emotional Rescue

On June 20, 1980 The Rolling Stones followed up their comeback album Some Girls with Emotional Rescue. The album misses the tension of Some Girls while sounding, in places, like its following the Some Girls formula.  "Dance Part 1 " is another "Miss You" style disco-rock number while "She's So Cold" and "Where The Boys Go" aren't quite up to the raw rock'n'roll of "Shattered" and "Respectable". Even "Send Her To Me" can't keep up with the bawdy lyrics of "Some Girls", though Jagger will mail-order any bride you can find: "She might be Ukranian/She could be Australian/ She could be The Alien...Send her to me!". "Indian Girl" may be the worst song the Stones had yet recorded. 

If Some Girls was a response to punk, Emotional Rescue's title track sounded like a response to the Bee Gees:

Only "All About You" still fascinates these ears, a preview of that fantastic Keith Richards solo album Talk Is Cheap. Whose the dog he is so sick of hanging out with? Mick Jagger or Anita Pallenberg? In Life, Richards says it was probably more about Mick.

I realized that Mick had quite enjoyed one side of being a junkie--the one that kept me from interfering in day-to-day business...The phrase that rings in my ears all these years later is "Oh shut up, Keith". He used it a lot, many times, in meetings, anywhere. Even before I conveyed the idea, it was "Oh shut up, Keith. Don't be stupid." he didn't even know he was doing it--it was so fucking rude. I've known him so longh he can get away with murder like that. At the same time; it hurts.

The album sold well, topping the charts in the US and UK. Hit singles from the album include the title track, which reached No. 1 in Canada, No. 3 in the US, and No. 9 in Canada and "She's So Cold", which was a top-40 single in several countries. But it's not an album that satisfies. 

The critics were not stunned the way they were were by Some Girls. Writing in Rolling Stone, Ariel Swartley stated that "as far as the music goes, 'familiar' is an understatement. There's hardly a melody here that you haven't heard from the Stones before".

NME's Nick Kent said compared to the latest albums by Graham Parker and Peter Gabriel, "Emotional Rescue is devoid of passion, bloated with clumsy posing and artifice".

From Robert Christgau of the Village Voice a grade of B+:

 No one will ever mistake this for a great Stones album, but I bet it sounds more interesting than It's Only Rock 'n Roll should we take the time to compare and contrast in our respective retirement communities. The mid-'60s charm of such tossed-off tropes as "Where the Boys Go" and "She's So Cold" goes with music that's far more allusive and irregular and knowing: for better and worse its drive isn't so monolithic, and the bass comes front and center like Bill was James Jamerson. Looser than you'll ever be.

From David Hepworth of Smash Hits

But apparently the band was inspired enough to hold some tracks from the sessions for their next album, the far better Tattoo You, including "Hang Fire", "Little T+A", and "No Use in Crying" 

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