Friday, 25 May 2018
The Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue (1980)
Released June 1980.
Recorded in Nassau, The Bahamas and Paris.
Assessed by many to be one of The Stones' worst albums, "Emotional Rescue" is generally seen to be a poor relation of "Some Girls". Indeed it utilised many cast off tracks from that album's sessions. However, despite some lazy low points such as "Summer Romance" and "Where The Boys Go", there are some redeeming features in "Down In The Hole", "Send It To Me", "Let Me Go" and the album's two dance numbers, "Dance (Pt 1)" and the hit single title track, "Emotional Rescue". As with 1983's "Undercover", I don't mind listening to this every now again. It just has to be taken in context. It would be a fair conclusion to see this as more a Jagger album than a Richards one. The reggae of "Send It To Me" and, of course, "All About You" is pure Keith, but the rest of it is very Mick.
"Dance (Pt 1)" continued the connection with contemporary dance rhythms explored with "Miss You" on 1978's "Some Girls", we had an even more "in the groove" number here, with a full drum sound and a convincing vocal. Lyrically, it was somewhat barren - "get up" is repeated quite a bit, but that is often the case in tracks that are more about the music than the lyrical content.
"Summer Romance" was a track on which it was rather odd to hear the already nearly forty-somethings singing about a teenage high school summer romance. It is a catchy, upbeat song though, but one can't escape that slight embarrassment of it all, however. "Send It To Me" was an appealing slice of light reggae/rock, with Jagger on fine yearning, lovelorn form, vocally. One of his best vocals on the album. "Let Me Go" is a classic early 80s Stones mid-pace rocker, with some nice chugging guitar and a bit of saxophone at the end. "Indian Girl" was a Mexican/Latin influenced slow groove with some slightly contrived lyrics about "gringos" and "Che Guevara"and some Mexican-style horns and tinkling keyboards. The sort of laid-back thing Jagger loves and twists his slurred vocal around. Pleasant enough.
"Where The Boys Go" was a low point. Another embarrassing track. Oafish "laddishness" doesn't sit well with men of their age and the chorus has some over-loud female backing vocals that tend to drown out the whole thing. Low point of the album. An almost punky riff that pays a bit of a late nod to the late 70s genre. However, "Down In The Hole" could possibly be the best track on the album. A genuine mysterious blues concerning soldiers buying counterfeit goods - "cigarettes" and "nylons" in "the American Zone", presumably East Berlin. One of the band's first real blues since the early 70s.
"Emotional Rescue" had a sometimes unfairly maligned falsetto vocal from Jagger lends a commercial appeal to this disco-influenced number. He even "raps", to a certain extent in the middle of the song, not particularly convincingly, but leery enough to add to the song's appeal. At least it showed that The Stones were prepared to diversify to meet contemporary trends. An excellent saxophone solo from Bobby Keys at the end too. "She's So Cold" was something of an archetypal Stones rocker that was sometimes still played in concert many years later. Some nice pedal steel guitar parts from Ronnie. All the guitar is good on this fact. "All About You" is a Keith track to end things off. A popular lyric in his case about loving a woman who is no good for him. As usual, so laid-back as to be almost comatose, but a sumptuous, vaguely comforting delivery. Like an old pair of slippers. Some nice saxophone in this one as well.