released Oct 19th, 2010
from the album - Beyond The Sea
Rod Stewart may have begun his career as a respected singer, yet that critical respect eroded as he got older, as he became more concerned with stardom and adult contemporary songcraft than the rock music that launched him. While he has recorded some terrible albums -- and he would admit that freely -- Stewart was once rock & roll's best interpretive singer as well as an accomplished songwriter, creating a raw combination of folk, rock, blues, and country that sounded like no other folk-rock or country-rock material. Instead of finding the folk in rock, he found how folk rocked like hell on its own. After Stewart became successful, he began to lose the rootsier elements of his music, yet he remained a superb singer, even as he abandoned his own artistic path in favor of following pop trends.
Rod Stewart has been mining the Great American Songbook for the better part of a decade, so it would only make sense that he would get a little bit better as time goes by. And, by some stroke of fate, Fly Me to the Moon -- the fifth installment in this never-ending series and first since 2005, as Rod spent the back half of the 2000s taking songbook detours into rock and soul -- is Stewart’s best album in the entire series. Some credit must be due to producer Richard Perry, who returns to the project after a few records off, but what distinguishes Fly Me to the Moon isn’t precision but relaxation. Rod is cool and loose, comfortable with the contours of these standards, which he should be after singing them for ten years. Standards still may not be suited for Stewart’s particular gifts -- unlike the rock and R&B numbers of his early years, he has absolutely no interest in rearranging the tunes or doing something unexpected with them, so he simply wraps his soulful rasp around them, sometimes sounding too ragged for the surroundings -- but he knows how to make his flaws work in his favor. He sounds like he’s having fun swinging through the tunes everybody knows by heart, and that’s the difference on an album that’s otherwise interchangeable with what came before: usually, the Great American Songbooks sound obligatory, but here there’s enough spirit coming from Rod to make this the best album in the series.
1 That Old Black Magic Arlen, Mercer 4:35
2 Beyond the Sea Lawrence, Trenet 3:25
3 I've Got You Under My Skin Porter 3:50
4 What a Difference a Day Makes Adams, Grever 3:21
5 I Get a Kick Out of You Porter 3:32
6 I've Got the World on a String Arlen, Koehler 2:52
7 Love Me or Leave Me Donaldson, Kahn 3:07
8 My Foolish Heart Washington, Your 3:37
9 September in the Rain Dubin, Warren 2:55
10 Fly Me to the Moon Howard 2:45
11 Sunny Side of the Street McHugh 2:56
12 Moon River Mancini, Merder 2:48