Sunday, 16 September 2018

Rod Stewart - Tonight I'm Yours (1981)


Released November 1981

This was a bit of a patchy album from Rod Stewart. We are now moving into the eighties - a decade blighted by "synth-pop" and drum programming. This album was not as bad as the next two would be - 1983's "Body Wishes" and the appalling "Camouflage" from 1984. This one has its moments and hangs on to critical credibility far more than those two did. Just as 1978's "Blondes Have More Fun" was supposedly Stewart's "disco album", this was claimed by some to be his "new wave album". I don't get either claim. They are both completely mainstream rock albums, really.

The title track is an infectious, lively opener with enough rock guitar to save it from the wall of synthesisers utilised in the backing. A cover of Ace's "How Long" from the mid-seventies is ok, but nowhere near as soulful as the original. It sounds somewhat perfunctory to me. "Tora Tora Tora (Out With The Boys)" is a frenetic barroom rocker with Stewart on great vocal form, and some wryly amusing lyrics. It takes its title from a seventies war film about the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbour.  "Tear It Up" is another breakneck pace song, with some rockabilly-style stand-up bass and rocking lead guitar.

"Only A Boy" is a mid tempo rock chugger that has Stewart getting regretful and nostalgic about his past, as was often his wont. It has a certain appeal, as I find these songs of his always do, being a shameless nostalgist myself. A cover of Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman" may not seem like the best idea, but Stewart's big rock production of it is actually ok. "Jealous" has one of those "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" disco synth mixed with rock guitar backings. It still retains enough "rock" about it to be listenable (whereas some of the material on the next two albums did not).

"Sonny" is a big rock ballad that seems pretty out of kilter with the 1981 zeitgeist, to be honest. "Young Turks", however, has always held an appeal, with its slightly Dire Straits, "Sultans Of Swing"-style guitar and moving, observant lyrics about a young pair of runaway lovers. "Never Give Up On A Dream" is an emotional, piano-led ballad to close what is actually a pleasant enough album, not one of Stewart's best, but certainly not one of his worst, either.


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