In his hugely enjoyable autobiography, published late last year, Stewart devoted almost as much space to this new album as he did his entire recorded output over the last three decades. Having long been dependent on others’ songs Rod was enthusiastic about his author muse returning, which led to him writing, or co-writing, 11 of the 12 tracks on Time.
Fittingly, it kicks off with a couple of autobiographical numbers; She Makes Me Happy catalogues the domestic bliss he currently enjoys, while Can’t Stop Me Now recalls his early struggles in the business, including reasons why doors were slammed in his face (“… your hair, your nose, your clothes”). It’s the sound of Stewart in superbly confident form, on a string of well-structured and catchy tunes that, in many places, will remind listeners of past glories.
Brighton Beach, another memoir of his younger days, has all the elegance of a loose, countrified Faces ballad, while songs such as Live The Life and Finest Woman check in with the Rod of A Night On The Town and Footloose And Fancy Free. To say it’s Stewart’s best album for more than 30 years may, ultimately, not be saying much, but it’s refreshing to hear him at the helm of a high-quality record, to hear him singing with heartfelt vigour, and – perhaps most importantly – having fun.