Rod Stewart: why I don’t feel awkward singing about sex

 

It’s the gag no pop show talking head can resist, but the title line doesn’t actually show up in this admittedly odd record, and Rod isn’t singing about himself. This is a character piece, a study of disco pick-ups and their awkwardness. In fact Rod lays the awkwardness on very thick indeed – it’s a wonder the pair of shy mumblers he describes ever get down to it – and the song doesn’t quite convince because Rod obviously is, well, not sexy exactly maybe but sexually confident, and what’s he doing here anyhow? In the video the girl seems to be being chatted up by a TV with Rod’s face on it, and then has sex with a Rod lookalike while being watched by TV Rod: it’s an unintentionally fine illustration of how weirdly intrusive Rod’s shaggy presence in his own song feels.

The awkwardness isn’t confined to the narrative, of course: Rod is one of a number of big 70s figures gritting their teeth and ‘going disco’, and at least the song’s nightlife setting gives him an excuse. The results are musically mixed: that keyboard riff is imperious in its swagger, but the groove is woefully lumpy and the song has chugged into inertia well before it reaches the morning after. It’s a game try at a rock-disco crossover, and deserves more than a cheap laugh – but not much more.

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