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CD REVIEW: ROD STEWART – Another Country

| 13 November 2015 | Reply

CD REVIEW: ROD STEWART – Another Country
23 October, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
5 1/2 /10

Rod Stewart - Another Country

Few have done so much to alienate their original fanbase over the decades as the artist formerly known as Rockin’ Rod The Mod. From his gritty and authentic white boy blues beginnings with The Faces, he fast developed a taste for fame and money and followed the hit trail through disco, pop and housewife-soul to sell records and keep himself in cocaine and blondes. Each to their own, right?

With talk yet again surfacing of a Faces reunion, there’s the hope that he’ll produce some music which reminds us of why he became so popular in the first place, thus we are defying the urge to throw Another Country straight in the bin.

From the start Another Country is middle of the road pop rock – far removed from his recent American Songbook albums. Yes it is resolutely commercial, but there’s no schmaltz to be heard. So far, so okay.

Please raises hope with a slight nod to his blues past, without ever getting dirt on its hands; Walking In The Sunshine is pure innocuous pop music that Stewart could do in his sleep; Love And Be Loved is the worst kind of cod-reggae, more UB40 than anything actually Jamaican. We Can Win tries hard to be a stadium-rousing anthem… and fails by virtue of it lacking any real substance.

The title track shows another slight glimmer of hope – a celtic stomper let down by another insipid production, it still retains some emotion and atmosphere. Way Back Home similarly explores his British roots, and similarly is a strong song let down by a boring arrangement. At least it shows he’s trying, so I guess we have to take what scraps we can find.

Maybe Rod’s worn me down by this stage, but Can We Stay Home Tonight? is a decent ballad – it could have done with a more impassioned guitar line, mind you – and Batman Superman Spiderman, despite the appallingly shit title, is a passionate lullaby to his kids. The Drinking Song sees the whole thing go to shit again with a terrible song that is more half a shandy than a few pints.

Hold The Line sounds like a Mumford & Sons outtake – and no, that’s not a good thing – before the album finishes with the whimper of A Friend For Life.

Lyrically Another Country seems more personal than Rod’s been for a while, probably due to him recently revisiting his own history for his best selling autobiography, but musically he and his team play it far too safe at every turn, so whilst not a complete travesty, it is far more a case of ‘what could have been’.

Category: CD Reviews

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