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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Box Set Reviews > Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart

Storyteller - The Complete Anthology 1964-1990 (Warner Brothers 9 25987-2) 1990

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Copyright 2001. PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: January 31, 2016.

Description:
It may just seem like Rod Stewart has been around forever.  This box set makes it even seem more to be so.  It is a long... and somehow in four disks rather lean... show of a distinguished career.
What's Good About It?
This is a box-set at both its most basic and least adventurous.  There are very few rare tracks, mostly it is just a long series of one hit single after another.  But that's okay, Stewart has had a long enough career and so many worthy hits to make it worth having.  And frankly, usually it's better to have the original hits than just slightly different "alternate takes" that so many box sets use which are only of interest to die-hard completist collectors.  Disks three and four are just wall to wall hits, and that is what most people will want.
What's Bad About It?
Well, as his career went on, Rod was more and more willing to coast on his reputation and sing some pretty weak songs that are not worthy of him.  It's tough to believe that a singer who was responsible for great songs like "Every Picture Tells A Story," "I Was Only Joking," and yes, even "Young Turks" could plumb the AOR-lite depths of "Passion," "Hot Legs" and his personal low point... whether the rest of the world agrees with me or not... "Forever Young."
What's Missing?
This includes every top-40 song that Rod Stewart ever charted with (up to that point, anyway) except for one... "Ain't Love A Bitch" from the 1978 album "Blondes Have More Fun."  This song also got the short shift on Rod's "Greatest Hits" album.  So what's the deal, why can't we get this single without buying the kind of weak original album?  It's far from Stewart's worst single ("Love Touch" and the maudlin "Forever Young" are on here for goodness sake!)  It's not even the worst single from that album, "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" is here too. 
PopEntertainment.com final grade: B- 
Though it was not planned this way, this box-set seems to be a map of the diminishing returns that has been Rod Stewart's career.   Much of the latter stuff is perfectly fine but formulaic music, but the grit and passion of the early stuff pretty much blows it out of the water.  Stewart seemed to be going in the right direction when he adventurously recorded a version of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train" specifically for this collection, but sadly the decade since this box was released have shown that to be a high-quality fluke, not a turn for the better in his career.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2001. PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: January 31, 2016.

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