tue 30/11/2021

Album: Rod Stewart - The Tears of Hercules | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Rod Stewart - The Tears of Hercules

Album: Rod Stewart - The Tears of Hercules

They can smell Rod's latest set of stadium whiffers on Mars

Admiral Kitsch rides again

Amid the spume of insults at the close of the song “The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle” by Malcolm McLaren’s Rotten-less, end-game version of the Sex Pistols, Rod Stewart is a prime target. Sandwiched between abuse for David Bowie and Elton John, Rod is accused of having “a luggage label tied to his tonsils”. It’s hardly a cutting verbal blow but the point is he’s amongst those the Pistols were supposedly rendering irrelevant.

Over four decades later, though, his musical output remains relatively prolific and his albums massive hits. This new one will be. A terrifying thought as it contains many kinds of aural torment.

Rod the Mod seems an affable rogue but that doesn’t give a pass for The Tears of Hercules. His 21st century output has seen him go from his American Songbook Sinatra schtick to reflective albums re-embracing his singer-songwriter side. “Touchline”, the closing ode to his late father and football is very much in this latter vein, too stadium sentimental for this writer but clearly from the heart. Elsewhere, though, he rushes along tangents that range from the unpleasant to the deranged.

In the latter category is the album’s most entertaining song, “Kookooaramabama”, which, I kid you not, channels Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s “Love Missile F1-11”, with added brass, and proclaims “Sex is cool and sex is nice” among much else. It’s a welcome, unhinged frolic but, for the most part, Rod’s penchant for rank cheese outguns everything. Opener “One More Time” is a booty call clunker over an “Old Town Road” country riff and electronic kick drum with lyrics that include “The sex was immense by a good old country mile”, rhymed with “speed dial”.

The opening cuts go for a Bryan Adams-with-Chicane house rhythm, resulting in a Whigfield-meets-“Macarena” vibe, a Benidorm conga-line, especially on the nursery rhyme-like “All My Days”. Then the guitars come out for a bit, the lyrically clunky tribute to Marc Bolan, “Born to Boogie”, being especially riffy. Finally Rod settles into Celtic bombast, from the James-Horner-Titanic-music schmaltz of the title track to the appalling bagpipe pomp of “These are My People”. By the end, the listener is dripping gorgonzola, ears weeping, wishing only that the Sex Pistols had, as they hoped, chucked this sort of thing in the puke barrel long, long ago.

Below: Watch the video for "One More Time" by Rod Stewart


Hil. Air. Ious.

Puke barrel eh Thomas?....maybe stick to watching your hero dressed as a joker on The masked singer..Ever get the feeling you've been had?

Ah the sex pistols, and he was not called rotten for nothing but they were musically rotten.....

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters