On his first album of new original material in two decades, Rod Stewart looks to his past for inspiration.
The feisty Celtic folk-rock textures of mandolin, violin and dulcimer driving along the opener "She Makes Me Happy" recall his own solo origins, after years ruthlessly mining the Great American Songbook for cabaret standards. It's a welcome move, as is the autobiographical cast of songs like "Can't Stop Me Now", with its reference to "Maggie May", and the bohemian teen reminiscence "Brighton Beach", in which "you were Greta Garbo and I was Kerouac". But it all goes wrong later on, in a limp succession of ersatz disco ("Sexual Religion"), routine raunch-rock ("Finest Woman") and empty sentiments like "Pure Love", yet another gloss on Pachelbel's Canon.
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