Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron (OST), by Bryan Adams and Hans Zimmer
Given Bryan Adams’ luck with soundtracks–all four of his #1 hits came from soundtracks–it was only a matter of time before he decided to turn to a more extended soundtrack pop project, it was only a mild surprise that he chose to tackle a movie about a spirited stallion from the Old West. If this album did not bring Bryan Adams back to pop chart success–those days had come and gone at this point–it was a successful enough album and demonstrated that Bryan Adams had the skills to focus more on soundtracks if he chose to do so. The coherence that had been lacking in 18 Til I Die was to be found here as the discipline of having a story to create songs to helped to keep this album related to common themes and sounds and approaches, where ballads and rockers could unite together in telling the same story, a situation that has not been present in all Bryan Adams albums, alas.
The album begins with its relatively big hit, “Here I Am,” which strikes a note of defiant independence. “I Will Always Return” offers a gentle note of loyalty. “You Can’t Take Me” and “Get Off Of My Back” return to a more defiant mood against the control of people. “Brothers Under The Sun” is a reflection of unity and agreement that contains some melancholy instrumentation. “Don’t Let Go,” with Sarah McLachlan, is a loving ballad that works within the context of horseys. “This Is Where I Belong” offers another song about loyalty and identity with a place of wilderness and freedom. “Here I Am,” a slightly less rousing version than the End Title version that opens the album, and then the depressed “Sound The Bugle” end the initial portion of vocal songs in this soundtrack. At this point we get four songs from the score by Hans Zimmer, “Run Free,” “Homeland, “Rain,” and “The Long Road Back,” which reflect a soaring emotional mood for wide open skies and horses running around in freedom as well as more quiet moments. The album then ends with “Nothing I’ve Ever Known,” a rousing some of growth and discovery, as well as the finale version of “I Will Always Return.”
Admittedly, I am fond of soundtrack pop, and so this album is pretty appealing to me. Like many an artist before him, Bryan Adams is as well suited to soundtracking as artists like Elton John and Phil Collins, and this album does credit to Adams’ ability to capture the mood of different characters and to come up with a compelling set of songs that works well together. It may seem to be an odd part of his discography, but it is certainly the most wholeheartedly enjoyable Bryan Adams album that he had released in some time. Those who come in with open ears and an open mind will have a lot to enjoy here, especially if they like the movie the soundtrack belongs to, as is often the case.