The Tears of Hercules is Rod Stewart’s 32nd studio album to date and his 4th album of original material since he returned to song writing in 2013 when he released the critically acclaimed Time. At times I think it’s easy to forget Stewart has been releasing music pretty much non-stop for the last 50 years and this point I’m beginning to wonder if he’s ever going to stop but when the last couple of albums you’ve released have been so well received both critically and commercially, while boasting some of your best work, why would you want to stop?
The truth is however, after listening to The Tears of Hercules, it may be time the 76 year old crooner started to consider it. From the opening track, One More Time, right through to album closer Touchline there are moments where you can tell the man’s signature voice just can’t keep up anymore.
One More Time is a punchy singalong pop track that gives some more insight into the man behind the public persona that we’ve all come to know and love and would fit right at home as an accompaniment track to 2013’s Can’t Stop Me Now however Gabriella leans a little too much into the pop side of things and it isn’t something I can see gelling with long-time fans, it certainly isn’t something I liked.
All My Days is another fun little track albeit a forgettable one but I do have to give special mention to Stewart’s rendition of Some Kind of Wonderful and while it may not be my favourite version of the song, Grand Funk Railroad takes that one for me, it is a wonderful addition to The Tears of Hercules and it really is a treat to have something I can singalong with straight out the wrapper.
Born to Boogie (A Tribute to Marc Bolan) hit me right in the feels. I’ve always been a huge Marc Bolan fan since I discovered his work at aged 13 and this track really does a great job at honouring the man’s legacy and while it may not be a perfectly crafted piece of art, it certainly shows Rod Stewart’s love and respect for a true icon of British music that was taken from us all too soon.
I could have easily done without Kookooaramabama right enough so let’s move on to I Can’t Imagine and title track The Tears of Hercules. Neither are anything special and aren’t likely to make any playlists and really aren’t anything more than your run of the mill album track.
Like The Tears of Hercules before it, Hold On shows the softer, smoother side of Stewart, and personally the side of him I always thought was best Precious Memories has a slight country twang to it with hints of country and blues throughout and it is definitely one of the best songs on offer here. The second to last track is a cover of Johnny Cash classic, These Are My People which leads into album closer, Touchline.
I don’t think you’ll hear anyone compare The Tears of Hercules to any of Stewart’s best work however it is another serviceable album and a sure fire stocking filler this Christmas. There are a few standout songs here that I’m sure people will be singing for years to come and while some of what he’s done here hasn’t landed with me personally, I can’t help but admire his ability to try something new and fresh at this point in his career and at the end of the day, Rod Stewart is nothing short of legendary.
by Edward Laing