City should listen to Stewart's tales


Published: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 7:38 p.m.

This week, Aurora listens to ... "Every Picture Tells a Story," the third solo album from Rod Stewart (1971)

AURORA: I was thrilled when you gave me Rod Stewart to listen to, Bill. My mother has always been a fan of Rod and I still remember her telling me what a gem of a song "Maggie May" was. Once I gave it a spin this time around, and heard it closely again, I realized even more how true that is. The heartfelt tune about a boy giving his much older lover a subtle kiss-off is purely magical.

BILL: It is magical and so is the rest of the album, still the benchmark of mod Rod's solo career and a near perfect blend of the sounds, from blues and folk to soul and rock, which influenced him and propelled him throughout his career.

AURORA: Rod really shows a penchant for classic blues, rock and even a dash of folk in this album. I love the way he adds unexpected twists to his beat, yet his voice never falters and the songs just get better and better. Like the album title says: every image tells a story, but it should be every song tells a tale.

BILL: I've always liked how the acoustic guitar rings out on this opener of the album, which also contains great takes on a Dylan song ("Tomorrow is a Long Time"), an early Elvis hit ("That's All Right") and even The Temptations' "(I Know) I'm Losing You."

AURORA: And I saved my favorite for last. I adore "Reason to Believe," which is originally a 1965 song by folk singer Tim Hardin. Every time he sings "Someone Like You" and describes the person he has feelings for, you feel it in his heart and soul.

This week, Bill listens to... "Even If It Kills Me," the third album from Motion City Soundtrack (2007)

BILL: If you're gonna be pop-punk, you might as well be Pop Punk with a capital "P." And who polished the ingredients (and raised the bar) on this Minneapolis group's third album? Ric Ocasek, who as leader of The Cars fueled that band's race to success in the 1980s.

AURORA: Hey, and we know The Cars were known for some pop-punk "rockiness" of their own, and Motion City Soundtrack has a penchant for bringing the city "up and dancing" with their catchy songs.

BILL: This isn't really the stuff that floats my rock 'n' roll boat, but Ocasek brings out the best in these guys so that if they really want hits, they'll probably get them. And though he shared producing duties on this album with a couple of others, his stamp is all over the place, like on "This Is For Real" and "It Had to Be You."

AURORA: At least it sort of rocked your boat, right? Anything you enjoyed?

BILL: I like the change-up chords on the rocker, "Fell In Love Without You," and the off-kilter tempos of "Can't Finish What You Started" and "Broken Heart." This album doesn't commit the cardinal sin of some songs ripping off others on the same album (like the band's 2005 second CD), so count "Even If It Kills Me" for breathing new life in the group, which despite the title didn't do them in.

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