Picks and Pans Review: Emotional Rescue

updated 09/08/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/08/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rolling Stones

This is an interesting LP but hardly a musical rescue, even if the title track is about the most inventive sound they've created in years. Jagger chants half of it in what sounds like a falsetto filtered through a mouthful of marbles—and that's a lotta marbles. Mick is at his snarling, slinky best when he groans "Lassss niiiight, I was dreeeeamin'." Let Me Go, a very Stones-like cut, has all their wondrous signatures—the deep layering of guitar chords, passion from the frets and a balanced, pounding assault. It's the same with She's So Cold, which features Jagger's hottest vocal—angry and devilish. When he pants about "the heat," you know he's not referring to Nolan Ryan's fastball. Now the bad news. Much of the guitar playing, a Stones staple, is sub-par, as if the axes themselves had been soaked in sound-thinner—particularly on Dance and on the monotonous reggae-esque Send It to Me. On Summer Romance, the New-Wavy production is so uneven that the guitarists sound as if they're in another studio. Where the Boys Go has some drum-guitar fire, but we've seen those flames from Keith Richards too many times. All about You is an embarrassingly dreary pop ballad sung—if that is the appropriate word—by Keith. On Indian Girl, Jagger wails, "Life just goes on and on, getting harder and harder." This emotionally flat album seems to be the Stones' way of proving that particular point in music.

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