11 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Considering that Rod Stewart has always featured touches of R&B in his music — his voice has been likened to Sam Cooke, whom he has often covered — it’s surprising that it took till 2001 for him to record his first modern R&B album. Stewart was clearly looking for a bit of pop currency and artistic expansion and while Human isn’t a revolutionary recording, it still features much of what’s made him such a reliable and beloved performer. The backup singers may threaten to overcome him in spots. “Soul On Soul” could use a scale back in the amount of troops who support the chorus, but Stewart does an easeful job with the title track and “Smitten,” songs that simmer with the kind of modest sensuality that he’s carefully aligned himself to as he ages. The skipping grooves behind “Loveless” allow him to slip between octaves with grace. His duet with Helicopter Girl for “Don’t Come Around Here” is playful, while the easeful reggae groove of “If I Had You” highlights a sweet melody.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Considering that Rod Stewart has always featured touches of R&B in his music — his voice has been likened to Sam Cooke, whom he has often covered — it’s surprising that it took till 2001 for him to record his first modern R&B album. Stewart was clearly looking for a bit of pop currency and artistic expansion and while Human isn’t a revolutionary recording, it still features much of what’s made him such a reliable and beloved performer. The backup singers may threaten to overcome him in spots. “Soul On Soul” could use a scale back in the amount of troops who support the chorus, but Stewart does an easeful job with the title track and “Smitten,” songs that simmer with the kind of modest sensuality that he’s carefully aligned himself to as he ages. The skipping grooves behind “Loveless” allow him to slip between octaves with grace. His duet with Helicopter Girl for “Don’t Come Around Here” is playful, while the easeful reggae groove of “If I Had You” highlights a sweet melody.

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