NEW ALBUMS: Rod Stewart releases his 30th studio album; Cher sings ABBA
"Blood Red Roses"
Release date: Sept. 28
Review: Nostalgia has been a focal feature of Rod Stewart's songwriting even as far back as 1971's "Maggie May," and some of the best tunes on "Blood Red Roses," his 30th studio album, explore that same vein.
Most of the tracks were written by Sir Roderick himself and long-time associate Kevin Savigar.
"Didn't I," about parents struggling to cope with their daughter's addiction; the soulish disco of "Give Me Love;" the lively, Motown-inspired "Rest of My Life;" and "Look in Her Eyes," with sweet backing vocals from Bridget Cady, also hit the spot, but the tender "Julia," another nostalgic chapter, is marred by distracting white-noise-like guitar. A foray into EDM and the Stones-like "Vegas Shuffle" grates.
Stewart's classic rasp is slightly silkier and still effective but "Blood Red Roses," actually a whaling term, is a bit all over the flower shop.
Release date: Sept. 28
Review: We have a question. This is important. No, really. Can someone turn the music down? Ready? OK: Put your hand up if you've ever asked for an album of ABBA covers by Cher. Seriously, who wanted this? Anyone?
Well, Cher, we guess, wanted it, maybe to buy a new yacht or fulfill some label requirement. Warner Bros. Records clearly did, too, if only to profit on the icon's appearance in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." The whiff of a quick buck is so sour here that it taints the Swedish band's bubbly compositions. Like one song's chorus goes: "Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!"
Cher offers a very deliberate, 10-track collection of classic ABBA songs. All the versions are fantastically well produced, mixed and arranged, but there's a strange coldness in these tracks, as if all the fun was drained. Cher takes them all very, very seriously.
The cleverness of the "Mamma Mia!" films is that familiar pop songs from the 1970s get sung by movie stars in a lush romantic comedy. That's different from belting out the same tunes in a recording studio and not adding anything.
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