So Far, So Good, by Bryan Adams
This album was my first exposure to Bryan Adams’ music, and as such it gave me a picture of Bryan Adams’ career as a musician that was hard to overcome for quite some time. Speaking personally, this particular album focused attention on Reckless and to a lesser extent Cuts Like A Knife as albums, completely ignored the material that Adams had recorded in his firsts two albums, and somewhat downplayed the material from Into The Fire and Waking Up The Neighbours, since those albums were either not very successful or had been recently released and the label was trying not to sabotage the catalog value of that valuable album. This is an album I have listened to many times, and it has dramatically shaped what I few of classic Adams. It is interesting that after an immensely successful album that Adams released this compilation his first of many, before going back into the studio, and that decision would be an interesting one in light of his desire to follow-up on his success.
This particular compilation contains fourteen songs, thirteen of which were previously released on studio albums that have already been reviewed as part of this discography project. The album contains songs in this order: “Summer Of ’69,” “Straight From The Heart,” “It’s Only Love,” “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started,” “Do I Have To Say The Words?,” “This Time,” Run To You,” “Heaven,” “Cuts Like A Knife,” “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” “Somebody,” “Kids Wanna Rock,” “Heat Of The Night,” and “Please Forgive Me.” The last song, the only new release among the whole compilation and its only single, was a top ten hit and a love ballad of the kind that Adams had become known to release in many of his albums, something that would later be somewhat of a sore spot for an artist who wanted to preserve his rock bona fides. Among the thirteen tracks present on previous albums, three come from Cuts Like A Knife, six come from Reckless, one comes from Into The Fire, and the other three come from Waking Up The Neighbours.
When I was growing up as a kid, this was my first introduction to the compilation album and so it seemed to me to be a nearly perfect one. And, it should be noted, as a fan of Bryan Adams, this is a very good compilation. There are no songs here that are not among the more accomplished songs that he recorded. As is often the case, though, the question is about what was left out. Songs like “One Night Love Affair,” “Lonely Nights,” “I’m Ready,” and “I Thought I’d Died And Gone To Heaven,” all songs that were omitted here, show a more sensitive side of Adams, and in some cases some real emotional vulnerability. It was perhaps thought that with the inclusion of a new ballad that it would have hurt Adams’ credibility of a rock act to have too many songs that played to that sensitive side. Of course, it would have been nice to have had a song like “Into The Fire” or “Hearts On Fire” as well, but that did not happen. Judged as it is, the compilation is a good one, a very good one, but one wonders how it could have been even better.