Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Okay, the buzz on this one is that Rod returns to rock after a decade spent murdering the Great American Songbook.  Even more, this time he's not going to plunder the catalogues of fine modern songwriters (Ron Sexsmith, Tom Waits, Dylan, Sam Cooke), but would write for himself again.  And, get this, he was talking about those glory days of the early 70's, wanting to get back to the writing style of Every Picture Tells A Story.

Okay, you know not to believe that stuff, right?  We've spent twenty years hearing Elton John tell us he was making another Tumbleweed Connection.  If Rod could write another Maggie May, don't you think he would?  You make a lot more money that way, plus it would restore his shrunken manhood.

So, what you do is pretend to make that album, and hope enough people believe you.  Rod did indeed have a hand in writing each track here, except one Waits cover, and he found a couple of places to put on a mandolin.  But despite up to five co-writers on some tunes, nothing comes close to his old tunes.  Heck, nothing comes close to actually being good, either.  Blame Rod for all of it, since he's also taken on the producer role here too.

The worst offender here is the autobiographical Can't Stop Me Now, where our hero is at first rejected by the evil record company men, who mock his nose and clothes, but "They can't stop me now, the world is waiting".  Well, he tells us "It was rough and it was tough... Then along came Maggie May."   On the equally nostalgic Brighton Beach, we here about the 60's in cliche:  "Oh what a time it was/What a time to be alive/Remember Janis and Jimmy/Kennedy and King, how we cried."  Umm, do you mean Jimi perhaps?  Never mind, I quibble.

No, there are far more grievous complaints to lay, including this lyric:  "Time waits for no one/That's why I/Can't wait on you."  He thought so much of that chorus, he made it the title cut on the album.  The song Sexual Religion, itself a blatant attempt to raise interest by hinting at his huge 70's hit Do You Think I'm Sexy, offends me more for the line "You're a Jezebel of Eden".  While attempting to work the religion theme into the lyric, he's mangled up the Biblical references, as Eden was way back at the start of things with Adam, Eve and the snake and apple and stuff, but Jezebel was a 9th Century BCE queen of North Israel, thrown out a window and fed to dogs for turning her husband and the whole kingdom onto false gods.  She could never have been in Eden.  C'mon Rod, it's all there in Wikipedia, you couldn't just check?

I'm getting picky.  There's no need, it all sucks.  The one thing about all those years of doing cover versions was that Rod actually has pretty good taste in songwriters, and sometimes he'd actually make a pretty good record if the tune suited his voice.  The truth is he lost the ability to write songs a long time ago, and the news that he has started again should have been taken as a warning similar to a severe weather bulletin rather than a harbinger of good news.


  1. Hi Bob,

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    Tina Jin

  2. What a relief! For a moment there (i.e., when I saw the headline), I thought," Uh-oh, Bob's gonna find some "hidden gems" or something in here." No such luck. The deterioration of Rod Stewart is now complete, from those magical first four Mercury albums plus odd singles and Faces' cuts, the slide started with Smiler, hid its stride with with Atlantic Crossing, and continues to this day, apparently. Why? Bad advice (i.e., bad producers)? Whatever. Thanks for the alert to counter the "Rod Is Back" hype. Not happening ....

    Peter Bourne