Nice to report, also, that 37 years after breaking up, those old rumours between Buckingham and Nicks never cease to amuse. Buckingham has said that Sad Angel was written in a bout of anger over Nicks’ reticence to record an album. “Hello, hello, sad angel/Have you come to fight the war/The drums, a fire, a calling ... the crowd calling out for more.” Score one for Team Lindsey.
Download: Sad Angel, Miss Fantasy, It Takes Time.
Rod Stewart, Time (Capitol) * * 1/2
Pre-release buzz put so much stock in the fact that Time marked the return of Stewart as a songwriter for the first time since his 1998 album, When We Were the New Boys, that one is reminded he also wrote for his mid-1980s albums and those songs were hardly celebrated. (The 1986 Rod Stewart album, anyone?)
But a series of inexplicably popular standards albums he released in the 2000s put such distance between Stewart and his rock past that most figured he’d never recover his reputation. Time is perfectly pleasant but it won’t push Every Picture Tells a Story or even Blondes Have More Fun off a boomer’s iPod.
Still, there’s much to enjoy as Stewart, in fine voice, albeit smoother and warmer these days, offers reflective tunes like the mournful divorce ballad, It’s Over, or Can’t Stop Me Now, which details the pluck that brought him from the pubs to Maggie May. “I stood up straight and sang for the record company man/My enthusiasm filled the room …We can’t sign you son ‘cause you don’t fit the mold/With your hair and your nose and your clothes.”
Stewart once crowed salaciously over Hot Legs; on the bouncy She Makes Me Happy it’s disarming, but honest, to hear the 68-year-old sing contentedly for domesticity: “When I get home there’s a hot bath waiting/Glass of wine on the side.” And if those frisky bedroom lyrics to the dance floor Sexual Religion are to be believed, Time has indeed been kind to the ol’ boy.
Don’t look for the scrappy rock band Stewart once toiled with in the late ‘70s; alas, there’s a bit too much programming going on. However, the folk-oriented mandolin, violin and acoustic guitars that once serenaded Maggie May return on Live the Life, which helps make Time the most Rod Stewart-sounding album in decades.
Download: Can’t Stop Me Now, It’s Over.
Kenny Chesney, Life on a Rock (Blue Chair/Columbia) * * 1/2
Every few years Chesney indulges himself with “a very personal” album in which he slows the tempos to a crawl and steers away from the kind of anthems that have made him one of country music’s contemporary superstars.
But, as he did on Be As You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair) in 2005 and That Lucky Old Sun in 2008, Chesney has little going on under that cowboy hat. No deep thinker, he comes off as a sometimes maudlin guy who complains about the life of fame he’s chosen and endlessly seeks the sea as an escape. “Sometimes my life takes more than I can give/That’s where I gotta go,” he explains on Marley, so named because he artlessly strings together a series of Bob Marley song titles to say absolutely nothing.