Rod Stewart

Smiler

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Rod Stewart's classic formula ran out of gas on Smiler, his fifth solo album. The failure of Smiler wasn't a matter of weak songs, nor was it a matter of Stewart being in poor voice. Instead, the album failed because everything, from the choice of songs to the production, sounded too pat and predictable. The predictability held "Sweet Little Rock 'n' Roller" from truly rocking and it made the reworking of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man" unbearably smug. Apart from the freewheeling take on Elton John's "Let Me Be Your Car" and the inspired version of Dylan's "Girl From the North Country," Smiler is an utter waste of time.

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