With this album, Rod Stewart gives up any pretense of
trying to hold onto his rock and soul following. And that's fine, he's
well into his late 50s now and rock and roll is supposed to be a young man's game.
He really hasn't had a record that sold well in almost a decade. He isn't the
first artist to decide to grow with their audience and show their suave
sophistication by tackling their favorite American standards. All these
songs are classics for a reason, nobody will ever question that.
problem here is that Stewart's raspy, soulful voice is really just wrong for the
smooth, polished sentiments and champagne instrumentals on display here.
Stewart's greatest moments have always had a bit of grit to them, from his early
days doing "Gasoline Alley" to his last great single, "Downtown Train."
Heavenly songs like "The Way You Look Tonight" and "These Foolish Things" sound
a little awkward coming from Stewart, like his vocals are wrestling the
sentiments contained. And the banks of strings and horns fight the overall
feel of the vocals, too.
If Rod Stewart wants to ride off into his retirement years by
recording pseudo-Harry Connick, Jr. albums, he has certainly earned that right.
He may want to look into some more appropriate songs next time, though.