Human

The last time Rod Stewart put his balls on the line was for "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?," a ridiculous, superb disco classic. That was twenty-three years ago. So if you're not salivating at the thought of a new offering from a craggy vet who's coasted throughout much of the last two decades, you can be forgiven. Enter Rob Dickins, the U.K. label boss who oversaw Cher's Believe. Dickins brings a bevy of R&B-pop producers and songwriters, including Metro (Enrique Iglesias), Rick Nowels (Madonna) and Gregg Alexander (of the New Radicals), as well as a slew of young and old guest stars eager to give Uncle Rod a Santana-esque resurrection. The R. Kelly-like title cut ingeniously juxtaposes Stewart and ex-Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash against jittery drum machines and gospel wailing, while stylistic stepchild Macy Gray turns in "Smitten," a slow groover that evokes both Gray's debut and Stewart's Seventies ballads. And although Human occasionally slides into easy-listening soul, the still-spiky star delivers assured, remarkably smooth vocals throughout. Finally, Rod once again sounds mod.