Bryan Adams, by Bryan Adams
After the success of “Let Me Take You Dancing,” a song which has been disavowed by the artist because of the way that his voice was made higher and remixed as a disco song rather than being a straight-ahead pop-rock song as it was originally meant to be, Bryan Adams went into the studio with associate Jim Vallance and recorded a set of songs, some of which had been written for others, some of which would later be recorded by others, and some of which have been largely forgotten. Like follow-up “You Want It You Got It,” this album has been largely neglected by listeners of Bryan Adams, as the album was not a great success or known all that much outside of Adams’ native Canada. Is the album worth giving more attention to, though, for those who are fans of music? Let us investigate.
The album begins with “Hidin’ From Love,” which seems like a bit of projection given Adams’ on love life and his attitude towards romance, in which he tries to woo a reluctant would-be partner. “Win Some, Lose Some” takes a philosophical view of life and love, and is an enjoyable listen. “Wait And See” is another song that deals with a reluctant partner, where he gives a somewhat ambivalent response about the possibility that he might leave her behind because she sees him as just a hobby. “Give Me Your Love” has some classic late 70’s production where he again calls out to a reluctant lover asking her for her love. “Wasting Time” is a more driving rock song about the frustrations of going after the wrong person for a potential partner. “Don’t Ya Say It” leans into R&B production and backing vocals with a song about a relationship gone wrong. “Remember,” the best-remembered song from this album, is a more straightforward rock song about meeting up with someone who reminds the narrator of a past relationship, with a nice synth solo. “State of Mind” is a driving piano-driven song about a somewhat dysfunctional relationship, with more R&B backup vocals. The album then closes with “Try To See It My Way,” which is a lovely pop-rock song where the narrator tries to convince his partner to see things the way that he does.
This is definitely an unusual album when looked at the context of Bryan Adams’ body of work. While Adams would continue the driving guitar and the thematic concerns with love and relationships, this album tends to show Adams in the vein of the lonely and somewhat demanding, even desperate young man trying to woo, pressure, and emotionally blackmail reluctant would-be partners to see things as he does and give themselves to him, without much seeming success. Later albums would add more depth and nuance to the portrayal of the narrator, sometimes with tonal inconsistencies that one does not find here, and they would contain less prominent backing vocals and production that make this almost an R&B album at parts. There are some real standout tracks here, even if this album is far different in approach than later albums by the artist would be, such as “Try To See It My Way,” “Remember,” “Hidin’ From Love,” “State Of Mind,” “Wasting Time,” and “Don’t Ya Say It.” If you’re willing to explore a Bryan Adams from when he was a somewhat lonely boy just getting started as a musician and before he became world-famous, this is a really revealing picture of the man beneath the mask albeit with production very much of its time.