by crystalline backup singers far too late in the song to make any sense; the R&B rave-up of an outro that finds Stewart, at a loss for specifics, chuckling over the youthful decadence he's just spent four minutes outlining at the speed of sound. And as for the drums, Mick Waller's playing, bashing every beat last-second and loose-wristed, is symptomatic of the whole album's reason for being - it articulates the chaos, the power, the glee of youth.
Stewart had an investment in sounding like a mess - that's the white Britisher's version of blues grit, or was in 1971 - but Every Picture is tautly controlled, not just from song to song but note to note. Members of the Faces are still playing behind him, even if it's Stewart's name on the cover, and they blast through courtly R&B, making a sizzling pile of ashes out of the Temptations' "(I Know) I'm Losing You" - that dangerous four-note bass riff and foreboding piano do more to intimate the song's anger and melancholy than the furious drum break.
Stewart's much-discussed, signature rasp belies how flexible his midrange vocals can be; listen to how his own bluegrassy "Mandolin Wind" expands and contracts like a breath. Every Picture can easily be called a seminal album, but the evidence is literal. Go no further than the rueful, passionate, restlessly linking verses of "Maggie May," which string together folk and pop and sex and sorrow, to hear the moment that invented Rod Stewart.
(RS 889 - February 14, 2002)