A reviewer of Rod’s 1986 single “Another Heartache” commented that Rod Stewart writes lovely songs about love. If you allow love and lust to crossover a bit and add a dose of “boys will be boys” songs to the mix, you would cover a lot of Rod’s material. It was relatively rare to find him sing about other worldly matters. But during his sabbatical from writing Rod has matured and, with the success of Time, he has grown in confidence. Never has he written about such a diverse range of topics as he has since 2013. Many still trace their way back to love, in one of its many forms, as the core – but he approaches it from so many new and fresh angles. This year will even have him singing about whales
It would be a stretch to say Didn’t I is as ground breaking as The Killing of Georgie was over forty years ago – it is harder to shock these days – but it certainly has an edginess beyond that of much of his catalogue. It may veer a little toward cheese at times – Bridget Cady’s piece, as well sung as it is, is more likely to soundtrack a Hallmark movie than a Quentin Tarantino one – but this is a serious song.
There are a few echoes of the past to be heard on the song. The first few seconds bring Human and the track Loveless to mind, then the phrase “Didn’t I” (particularly late in the song when he sings “didn’t I do the best for you…”) actually recalls his 40 year old cover of Standing in the Shadows of Love.
Didn’t I hit me for ten on first listen and anyone who has kids could probably relate, because even if it isn’t drugs, there’ll always be something to worry about.
Rod expertly and convincingly conveys anger, frustration, desperation & sadness in four minutes – both lyrically and in his delivery. He almost spits out the words at times, and they are words suitable for that treatment.
There is no happy ending on this one. Back in ’86 Warner had Rod tone down the lyrics on Here To Eternity. Not this time – ending with the climax of the singer’s daughter fighting for her life doesn’t leave the listener with much hope.
The strength of the lyrics and vocal performance, coupled with a killer melody, make this one of the most powerful lead singles Rod has put out in decades.
He is back with a bang. The music industry has moved on and Rod is unlikely to have a hit single in the traditional chart sense, but this lead track should achieve its goal, generating interest in Blood Red Roses, and I am sure we will see the third part of the Rod and Kevin Trilogy rise high in the UK chart in a few weeks time.
Welcome back Rod.
Review By Pat Brett
Photo Karen Chande