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PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2001, 12:00am
 

Rod Stewart


Human


(Atlantic)


Mod Rod has sought contemporary relevance by casting much of his latest effort in an R&B sound, which is actually a direction he tampered with in the 1970s but, much to critics' dismay, actually went disco with Do You Think I'm Sexy.


The promise that direction may have held is again thwarted as Human juxtaposes Stewart's wonderful, organic, vocal box-full-of-rocks voice against drum machines and synthetic sounds throughout. That his Unplugged MTV album went double platinum only seems to underline what similarly warm, folksy acoustic guitars et al could have done for this album.


Stewart enlisted a raft of R&B talent, including the producer who oversaw Cher's Believe and Enrique Iglesias. The result is easy-listening soul, gospel wailing and ballads. The opening title track is R Kelly-like and is followed by Smitten, a slow groover that is one of the album's high points - a ballad reminiscent of his best 70s efforts like Maggie May. Stewart has long been celebrated for his gift as an interpretive singer (who hasn't heard his acclaimed version of Van Morrison's Have I Told You Lately). But Human has erred, suffering from excessive collaboration and not enough of Stewart's singular stylising.


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