July 25, 1983 12:00 PM

Rod Stewart

Let’s not spare the Rod this time. To be sure, the durable Britrocker’s wonderfully plaintive screeches still work, but they work best in hard-edged blues rock. On this album, that means principally the opening cut, Dancin’ Alone, which is right up there with Hot Legs. The rest of the album falls short, though Baby Jane, the hit single, is a tolerably smooth pop-rock cut, and Sweet Surrender, a softly tapping, country-ish tune with a humming pedal steel in the background, has some moments. Otherwise, much of the music is undistinguished if slick shlock. Stewart is capable of delivering a lot of sentiment—from haunted pain to sneering irony to arrogant macho. He seldom finds the right context for it all, though. He has co-written all of these tunes with various members of his band. Perhaps because of such varied input, the musical statements seem to be mostly an argument over style.

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