Retaining producer Glyn Johns and some of the same session players from her last record, Show Some Emotion repeated that album's chart success and included two more terrific singles in the same vein: "Show Some Emotion" and "Willow." However, the rest of the album sounds like outtakes from that effort. Gone is the smooth, honeyfied flow of Joan Armatrading; the lyrics seem to lack a sense of meter, the songs occasionally rely on pedestrian R&B arrangements to move them along, and the buoyant melodies are few and far between. Part of the problem stems from poor track placement; the vulnerable "Woncha Come on Home," which would have worked well at the end of side one or two, is an awful choice as the opening track. Placing the similar-sounding "Mama Mercy" and "Get in the Sun" next to each other suggests that Armatrading even had trouble coming up with filler, and waiting until the end of the album to unleash the energetic "Kissin' and a Huggin'" leaves the listener all charged up for nothing. While the title track and "Willow" are good enough to justify the album purchase alone, they're available on any number of compilations. Without them, Show Some Emotion lacks any must-own material, although the aptly titled "Warm Love," "Kissin' and a Huggin'," and the compelling "Opportunity" are worth hearing. Overall, this feels like a step back after her last effort. The fine voice and smattering of rock, jazz, and island melodies place it as vintage Joan Armatrading, but the material is a cut below her better work.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly