Sound — 5
Let's get this straight. You have the Rolling Stones, rock icons, and you have the 1980s, a decade of glorious hits and dark misses. Put these two together and what do you get? The weakest recording by the Rolling Stones! The album was written and recorded at a time when Jagger and Richards relations had soured seriously. Dirty Work is a confusing mish mash of thrashing guitars, predictabley drenched synths, and muted drums (and most likely drum machines). Jagger's distraction with his solo record, Primitive Cool, did not help the situation at all and fans were (and still are) left with an uneven release by "the world's greatest rock n' roll band".
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics on this record are pure cheese - not the brash, tough lines Rolling Stones fans like to hear from the band. Jagger delivers the lines in an unforgiving tone, a tone that does not help the frustration that seems to seep from the amplifiers and drums and into the listener's ears. In the track "One Hit To The Body" Jagger writhes; "You fell out of the clear blue sky/To the darkness below/The smell of your flesh excites me/My blood starts to flow/So help me God," to no effect. In many places, the music fits well with the lyrics, but only if you pay no attention to the actual words and instead focus on the melodies.
Overall Impression — 5
Dirty Work is the weakest record recorded by the Rolling Stones. It contains no classic songs, but it does have several commendable attempts (notably "One Hit To The Body" and the Motown cover "Harlem Shuffle"). The power of the Jagger/Richards songwriting team is absent here, and it point out to the listener just how vital those two are to the success of the Rolling Stones, can you imagine an entire career of "Dirty Work"-type albums?