There are two things to be said about this new Stones album [Black & Blue] before closing time: one is that they are still perfectly in tune with the times (a.k.a., sometimes, trendies) and the other is that the heat's off, because it's all over, they really don't matter anymore or stand for anything, which is certainly lucky for both them and us. I mean, it was a heavy weight to carry for all concerned. This is the first meaningless Rolling Stones album, and thank god. No rationalizations—they can now go out there and compete with Aerosmith, or more precisely, since just like the last two before it this album's strongest moments are Jagger singing ballads, the "adult pop" market. Barry Manilow, even….
I won't even comment on the lyrics because they don't mean shit. They're stupid and deserve to be. Not even "Memory Hotel," which I could get a cheap shot off by saying the line "You're just a memory that used to mean so much to me" applies to the Stones, but I don't believe that, I just love 'em for getting wasted, as they are, and slowly dying with such immaculate sense of timing. I mean they still can do no wrong, except if you really are dumb enough to expect a Statement, well, NO STATEMENTS HERE.
Lester Bangs, "State of the Art: Bland on Bland," in Creem (© copyright 1976 by Creem Magazine, Inc.), Vol. 8, No. 2, July 1976, p. 63.