Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of Our Time
In his 1970s prime, Rod Stewart was one of the rock era’s elite vocalists, his sandpaper growl evincing heartfelt passion and tenderness. Over the years, he achieved superstardom with outrageous poses and commercial pop arrangements that left critics unimpressed. Now, over 60, having suffered throat complications that have harmed his voice surprisingly very little, and coming off a successful forage into the world of pop standards, Stewart returns to mainstream rock n’ roll. It would come as little surprise if many listeners thought the Bonnie Tyler hit “It’s A Heartache” was actually Stewart’s all along, considering he was a chief influence in her sound. (It also begs the question, where’s Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis’ Eyes”?) Stewart, for his part, doesn’t over-emote, doesn’t exploit the sentiments. Chrissie Hynde’s “I’ll Stand By You” begs for an over-the-top performance, but Stewart sticks to a warm, tender interpretation. Bob Seger’s “Still the Same” lacks an extra bite, but John Waite’s “Missing You,” the Eagles’ “Best of My Love” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” are given the full-on ‘Rod’ treatment.