Rod Stewart has been a fixture in the million-selling pop quadrant of rock’n’roll for as long as most of us can remember. He’s travelled a long and winding road. Rod the Mod morphed into Jeff Beck’s singer, and then moved on to the rowdy knickers-and-tequila chaos of the Faces, a struggle with cancer and then TV-promoted schmaltz.
Maggie May’s a gilt-edged classic. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? is platinum embarrassment. Hard to believe that 20 years have passed since Stewart released any original material that he produced and wrote himself. He claims he lost his muse and only rediscovered it in 2011 while he was writing his autobiography.
The muse may be back but it brings no surprises. Not a WTF like Dylan hatching Tempest. Chord sequences are variations on the very familiar. Politely jangling guitars are the order of the day, which make the better tracks like She Makes Me Happy sound like Faces-lite, but others – Time and Brighton Beach – verge on maudlin. At best, for a former superstar returning to the creative fray, the record is mediocre and I truly hope it’s not Rod’s last word on the subject.