That Time Rod Stewart Teamed Up With Power Station And Gave Us...'Forever Young'?!

As someone who may tend to romanticize the neon awesomeness of the '80s from time to time, my response to such accusations is that, like the proverbial chain, a decade is only as strong as its weakest link:

That's right, a late '80's Rod Stewart album; say, 1988's Out of Order.

Those unfamiliar with the singer's '80s output might take a quick look at the cover and dismiss it as a Don Johnson solo album (no, that was 1987), yet if the album is notable for anything, it is for making Hollywood playboy Rod Stewart a hit in the heartland at a time when MTV was full of the gritty images of everyday America portrayed in hit videos by John Cougar Mellencamp, R.E.M., U2, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

Whether it was the song itself, or the cute-beyond-all-reason video of a good-natured Stewart bouncing around in the back of perfectly vintage pick-up with the cutest little kid you ever did see, America fell hook, line and sinker in love with the song.

While its common knowledge that the song's resemblance to a Dylan song of the same name led Stewart to share writing credit with the future Wilbury, less publicized is the fact that the album was a dream come true for the one kid who had wondered aloud how awesome it would be if Rod Stewart fronted Power Station.

Sadly, that kid had been promptly pummeled to smithereens at the time for even suggesting something so outlandish, but he was sure in our thoughts as we witnessed that very thing come to life before our very eyes three years later.



While the Top 20 success of "Forever Young" would be out-schmaltzed by the Top 5 smash "My Heart Can't Tell You No", one would be slow to classify Out of Order as a mellow album.

Quite the contrary, as Rod tackles "Lethal Dose Of Love" and "Almost Illegal" with an exuberance not heard since his Faces days, but its "Dynamite" that manages to beat Georgia Satellites at their own game even if nobody cared by then.



If the album has one song that makes the whole journey worthwhile, where Stewart is able to harness the entirety of Power Station's bag of tricks while injecting his own special brand of smarmy charm, it is "Crazy About Her", which succeeds mostly in being one of those songs that is immediately recognizable upon hearing, yet completely forgettable.



What Stewart was trying to accomplish by updating the Bessie Smith standard "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" is anyone's guess, but if you listen close enough, you can almost see the end credits to a "Lethal Weapon" sequel roll by and therein lies both the charm and the fatal flaw of Rod Stewart's final album of the decade.

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