Produced by Rob Dickins, who tried to restore Stewart's rock and roll reputation with 1998's earnestly youthful When We Were the New Boys, Human sounds contrived, despite work by some premium session players -- among them, bassist Pino Palladino (who's played with Paul Young, Richard Ashcroft, and Eric Clapton), the Time's guitarist Jesse Johnson, and sometime Pretender axeman Robbie McIntosh. Since the '80s, Stewart has been most at home with hard rock and ballads, but insecure on middle ground. His producers have let him pull his punches, marketing him as a safe balladeer with a rock frisson. That may be why the desultory reggae "If I Had You," complete with languid swing and deeply clichéd lyrics, seems both strenuous and showy. All Too Human might be a better tag for this effort, which was recorded on various continents, then cobbled together by Dickins. As it stands, Stewart's debut for a label synonymous with rhythm 'n' blues and soul in the '50s and '60s, and with hard rock in the '70s and '80s, seems a marriage of inconvenience -- not a new beginning.