Rod-Stewart-M-Review-No26ROD STEWART



After a decade of lucrative, critically unloved covers records—five Great American Songbook sets, plus collections of rock and soul chestnuts—Rod Stewart has finally gone back to writing songs. The impetus, he’s said, was his 2012 autobiography, which got him thinking back, taking stock, and basically doing what rock stars do when they research a certain age. With Time, the 68-year-old superstar sings his life in 12 tracks, telling the tale of a self-described “scruffy, beat-up working class teenage troubadour” that makes it big, lives it up, marries a model, weathers a painful divorce, and finds peace in the end.

We all know the story, and while there are some revealing moments—the acoustic ballad “Brighton Beach” is about the daughter he fathered at 17 and gave up for adoption—Stewart isn’t trying to bum anyone out with true confessions. Opener and lead single “She Makes Me Happy” skips to the ending, and as Rod sings over mandolin, accordion and crisp electric guitar—classic elements of his sound, presented here and elsewhere with maximum polish—we know it’s a happy one. His wooly rug of a voice has lost a few threads, but he proves sufficiently soulful, even when mired in cliché (the title track) or sentimentality (“Pure Love”). On EDM-lite outlier “Sexual Religion,” he lands somewhere between his ’70s disco diversions and Cher’s “Believe,” rasping away about how his new missus rocks his world. “I’m in real deep this time,” he sings, just before the cruise-ship sax kicks in. He’s been here before. He’ll be fine. –Kenneth Partridge


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