“Having reestablished themselves as the world's greatest rock and roll band with 1978's Some Girls, the Stones returned to the same stylistic well for Emotional Rescue” (CdUniverse.com), an album “comprised of leftovers from the previous album's sessions and hastily written new numbers” (Erlewine).
“Emotional Rescue may consist mainly of filler, but it's expertly written and performed filler” (Erlewine). “The album continues the band’s fascination with the disco sounds of the time and the reggae grooves they’d been indulging in since Black and Blue. But best of all for long-time Stones fans, Rescue was stacked full of the kind of rhythmically propelled garage rockers that made the band's early ‘70s albums wall-to-wall classics, with Jagger at the top of his game” (CdUniverse.com).
“The icy but sexy disco-rock of Emotional Rescue” (Erlewine) makes for “a slick, mid-tempo slinker that ranks among the most unique sonic statements in the band’s catalog” (CdUniverse.com). At the end, Jagger sings “‘I will be your knight in shining armor’…sounding like a high-priced fantasy gigolo gone silly with the strain. After nearly eighteen years of well-paid nights and approximately twenty-seven albums of acted out desires, maybe these guys can't help getting lust and cash confused” (Swartley).
She's So Cold is a Chuck-Berry-at-Studio-54 declaration that Jagger and Richards could by this time write in their sleep” (CdUniverse.com). The “venal, high-speed whine” (Swartley) is reminiscent of Between the Buttons. “For all the Stones' tongue-in-cheek insistence that ladies are commodities to be mail-ordered or tinkered with, it doesn't seem to make them any easier to control. (‘I tried rewiring her,’ Mick Jagger sings in ‘She's So Cold.’ ‘I think her engine is permanently stalled.’)” (Swartley).
“Dance, Pt.1 is classic Stones riffology, with free-associative pro-New York lyrics that make it ‘Shattered’’s more ragged cousin” (CdUniverse.com). The “blandly funky, mostly instrumental” (Swartley) song does take time to illustrate that on this outing, the Stones are “obsessed with having and not having” (Swartley) as the song “pauses in mid-boogie for a couple of rich-man/poor-man jokes” (Swartley).
“A jilted Jagger fools around (literally) with foreign affairs” (Swartley) on a handful of songs.On “the reggae-fueled, mail-order bride anthem Send It to Me” (Erlewine), Jagger “proposes an energetic redevelopment program – a sort of self-help sexual capitalism: ‘She may work in a factory/Right next door to me.’ In Indian Girl (where the Stones meet mariachi), Central American political realities are seriously, if rather vaguely, considered: ‘Mister Gringo, my father he ain't no Ché Guevara/He's fighting the war in the streets of Masaya.’ And in the agonizingly slow blues. Down in the Hole, the black markets, foreign zones and diplomatic immunities of modern rebellion merely become so much barbed wire in a private war of emotional imperialism: ‘You'll be...down in the gutter, begging for cigarettes, begging forgiveness ... / Down in the hole after digging the trenches, looking for comfort’” (Swartley).
“Summer Romance – a you've-heard-it-before, snotnosed schoolgirl version of ‘Maggie May’ – starts out randy and ends up simply insolvent: ‘I need money so bad/ I can't be your mama/ I don't want to be your dad’” (Swartley).
The Stones toss off throwaways like…‘Send It to Me’ or rockers like ‘Summer Romance’ and Where the Boys Go with an authority that makes the record a guilty pleasure” (Erlewine).
“The whole collection is at once so familiar and effortless that few could argue the point that, in 1980 the Stones were as good as Big Rock got” (CdUniverse.com) even if “only…‘Emotional Rescue’ and…‘She’s So Cold’ – come close to being classic Stones” (Erlewine).
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
- Ariel Swartley, RollingStone.com