“The Key of Love,” a bonus track on Michael Des Barres’ new Carnaby Street: Encore Edition, is the kind of blessedly ragged, totally real song you’re hoping Rod Stewart comes up with for his forthcoming pop album — but fear he could never approach again.
Des Barres, putting away his rock ‘n’ roll shoes (not to mention his carnal growl), even sounds something like Stewart, as he details a straight-forward, very adult passion that’s hiding its share of scars. The uncluttered track allows that sentiment to remain at the forefront, with only a single backing singer and guitar in accompaniment, until a soaring sax joins the proceedings during its final quarter.
By then, Des Barres has made his own emotional ascension away from the gravelly, Faces-esque coo that launched “The Key of Love” into this beautifully raw howl.
This new tune arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day as a bonus track on Des Barres’ expanded version of last year’s terrific Carnaby Street, which we said worked as a template for growing old but not getting soft.