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RECORD RACK

Non-stick Stewart

July 20, 1986|STEVE HOCHMAN

"ROD STEWART." Rod Stewart. Warner Bros. If this was intended to raise the diminished expectations fostered by this once-great artist's output over the past decade, the cheesy street-romance epic "Here to Eternity" was a poor choice for the lead-off track. However, once you get past the next cut, a generic tune co-written by Bryan Adams, things pick up considerably.

"A Night Like This" is the kind of "Sticky Fingers" Stones cop Stewart used to pull off in his sleep with the Faces, and "Who's Gonna Take Me Home (The Rise and Fall of a Budding Gigolo)" lives up to the sly self-parody implied by the title. From there on out, the only true bomb is "Love Touch (Theme From 'Legal Eagles')," yet another dull profit-maker from the Michael Chapman-Holly Knight hit factory.

Problem is, not one of the passable entries has any sticking power, which could be the fault of Bob Ezrin's often flat production. The worst production offense, though, comes on the closer, John Lennon's "In My Life." What begins as a touching tribute--Stewart in his best voice backed only by a soul/gospel chorus--is soon nearly sunk by overblown and entirely unnecessary orchestration.

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