Sunday, 16 September 2018
Rod Stewart - Blondes Have More Fun (1978)
Released November 1978
Having put out a surprisingly good album in 1977's "Footloose And Fancy Free", Rod Stewart still a huge chart-topping artist, just about held on to his reputation with this album - just about. Released at the height of punk, it bore no relevance to the revolution that hung in the air, being a mixture of chugging, now typical guitar-driven rockers and somewhat corny romantic, often lecherous ballads. Stewart still knew how to pen a catchy tune, his muse had yet to desert him. Some have described the album, over the years, as his "disco album". Personally, I don't really get that. It is still very much a mainstream radio rock album for me, despite the layered disco synthesisers of its most famous track, the abomination that is "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy". Even after all these years, I still have a fair amount of contempt for that song. I have to admit, however, that it is impossibly singalong, even for me. There can't be many men who haven't ironically sung it.
"Dirty Weekend" is a full-on , pounding rock, full of searing guitar and Stewart at is most "dirty old man". "I wanna rock you 'till your pussy's sore..." he sings. Don't hold back Rod, you leery old goat. The laid-back, tuneful melodic rock of "Ain't Love a Bitch" has its appeal, as Rod addresses "Maggie" from his most famous song. "If you're still out there..." he enquires, nostalgically. "The Best Days Of My Life" is heartbreaking in its sad vocal delivery, it sounds like something from the mid-seventies, however, three years behind the times. It would have been fine on 1976's "A Night On The Town", but not now, in the febrile year that was 1978. As a young punk at the time, I still I couldn't help but love it though. I just love the Sam Cooke-ish "la-da-da" bit at the end.
Another lovely, mid-paced but powerful rocker is the evocative "Is That The Thanks I Get?". There's certainly no disco in any of this material so far. Again, I loved this song at the time, keeping my secret love for it well hidden as I went to see The Clash and The Ramones. "Attractive Female Wanted" is another solid rocker with some amusing lyrics as Rod says how he still is forced to buy "Penthouse" and "Hustler" to satisfy his lust. Sure you did, Rod. It is an endearingly funny song. It even launches into a bit of Police-style white reggae in its backing.
"Blondes (Have More Fun)" has an upbeat blues rock guitar straight off The Rolling Stones' "Shake Your Hips". Once again - disco? My backside. "Last Summer" is a wistful, summery slow number full of airy flute and melodic acoustic guitars. Again, Stewart expresses his lust in the lyrics. Lust is all over this album. Let's hope he managed to satisfy it. I'm sure he did.
The previous had an unconvincing cover of a Motown classic in Diana Ross & The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On". This time it was the turn of The Four Tops' "Standing In The Shadows Of Love". This, along with "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" is, I suppose, where the disco misconception came from. This has a "Miss You"-style rubbery bass line and a bit of a disco beat, but it also has some huge rock guitar riffs. It is a much better cover than the previous one. "Scarred And Scared" was a moving, confessional ballad with Stewart feeling a bit sorry for himself. It is another one I like.
Despite this album being utterly incongruous and culturally irrelevant in 1978 I can't help but like it. Yes, I was a punk in 1978, but not everyone was. Rod Stewart still shifted huge amounts of records. This was no different.
- September 16, 2018