"Time": a Review of Rod Stewart’s New Project

Rod Stewart is one of the best selling musical artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. He has spent FOUR DECADES of his life as a successful professional musician. That’s a record that few can match, considering how difficult it is to stay relevant over the long haul in the music business.  This album,  his newest effort, entitled “Time”,  was written on the heels of him penning his 2012 memoir, “Rod”.   It’s his first album of new material in almost 20 years.

It’s almost as if sorting through all those memories in order to tell his life’s story unblocked the log jam of his creativity, and the songs began flowing. So, in a sense, “Time” is very much an autobiographical music project. 
The album cover.

As a writer, I find it to be true that tapping into one’s memories and examining them sometimes unlocks a flood of more memories. As any writer knows, re-living memories and the feelings associated with them are the stuff of good writing.  And I think musically and lyrically, Stewart has created a strong project.

In Stewart’s own words:

“Suddenly ideas for lyrics were piling up in my head,” he says. “Next thing I knew, I had a song called ‘It’s Over’ about divorce and separation. And now I was getting up in the middle of the night and scrambling for a pen to write things down, which has never happened to me. I finished seven or eight songs very quickly and I still wasn’t done, and it became apparent that I would eventually have a whole album of material to record.”
Several of the cuts on this project harken back to the days of his early career-making song, “Maggie May”, utilizing a mandolin and a driving, steady beat. Since Maggie May has always been my favorite song of his, that means these new songs, like “She Makes Me Happy” and  “Can’t Stop Me Now” suit me just fine.

But “Live the Life” reminds me the most musically of Maggie May. Give it one listen, and you’ll know why: the mandolin, the fiddle and the whole groove are very reminiscent of that earlier hit.  “Live the Life” also contains what I think may have been the hookiest hook of all his songs: “Love the life you live, live the life you love.” (I kind of wish I’d written that one.)

The song “It’s Over”, inspired by one of Stewart’s divorces, expresses the deep sentiments of pain and loss that anyone who has watched a marriage crumble might relate to.

“Beautiful Morning” is anthemic in nature, and another hard-rocking tune. The title words are repeated again and again, making me want to sing along, and reminding me to celebrate the life I’ve been given.  I do kind of wish he’d left out the part of the lyrics where he sang about the hotel south of “Frisco”: (since nobody who lives there actually calls it that), because it left me teetering on the edge of being disappointed that I don’t have my own room in that hotel, with a four poster bed and a sea view…but I digress…

Stewart co-wrote every song on this project with the exception of “Picture in a Frame”, which was written by Tom Waits and his wife, Kathleen Brennan. This song is so poignant, so touching, and has grown on me to the point of becoming one of my favorites. It should have been in a Toy Story movie: that’s the vibe I’m talking about. I was thrilled to discover that Stewart had recorded a Tom Waits song, since he’s a favorite around our house.

Rock on, Rod.

I can’t not mention that a couple of these songs seem to have been written especially for his children, which I relate to on a very personal level, and they are “Live the Life” and “Pure Love”. I found these lyrics from “Pure Love” especially touching, since I have a son who is about to leave for college:

“There may be oceans in between us now
But I think about you every living hour
No don’t forget me now that we’re apart
Just open up that great big loving heart
You’ll always be, you’ll always be
You’ll always be a part of me

Don’t ask me now where all the time has gone
I’ve loved you since the minute you were born
So many times we have laughed and cried
I see you now, it fills my heart with pride
You’ll always be, you’ll always be
You’ll always be a part of me. “

~sniff~

While there were a few songs that didn’t float my personal musical boat,  all in all, I can truthfully say I’ll be listening to this project again and again. I love the energy.

Glad you’re writing again, Rod!

Rock on.

I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

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