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Old 09-02-2011, 09:42 AM   #198 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Cuts like a knife --- Bryan Adams --- 1983 (A&M)


Ah yes, Bryan Adams, before he got all famous with “Reckless” and began to get above himself! There was a time when we would have said Bryan who? And this was it. The first album to chart for Adams, and the one that led to the phenomenally successful “Reckless” and mega-stardom, this is in fact a much better album than the one that followed it. Or any of the others since.

It's a real rocker's album, kicking off with “The only one”, a good hard rocker with a great melody and Bryan's soon-to-be-internationally-recognised drawl, as well as his signature guitar sound which would soon be flowing out of more radios than you would care to remember. On this album he's joined by such luminaries as Jim Vallance and Lou Gramm, and there's hardly a bad track to be heard. Hardly. One or two don't quite make the cut for me, but generally speaking it's a solid album.

“Take me back” is dirty, no-holds-barred rock in the mould of AC/DC, no frills attached. Some nice organ on this, very atmospheric but doesn't take from the basic roots rock of the song. The third single released from the album, and the first to get Adams a hit in the UK, “This time” is more commercial rock, verging on pop, but a great song with a hard-to-resist hook. The type of melody used on this track would surface later on the millions-selling “Reckless”, and become inextricably linked with Adams' material.

Two monster hits come one afer the other next. The first is Adams' first hit single, the piano ballad “Straight from the heart”, which is now recognised as one of his greatest hits. It's a real power ballad, with piano, organ and guitar all meshing to create a lush melody against which Adams' trademark hoarse singing soars. Nice backing vocals from Lou Gramm, he of Foreigner fame, really add to the feel of this song. The title track is a mid-paced rocker, kicking in with thumping drums and very much more guitar-led, a rawer rock song. Great guitar solo here, and again the backing vocals are spot-on, especially on the “singalong” chorus at the end. Guaranteeed crowd pleaser.

A good heavy rocker then in “I'm ready”, with great keyboards and some superb guitar solos. “What's it gonna be” is a lot more commercial, but a fast rocker nevertheless with some great hooks. Would have thought this might have been released as a single, but it wasn't. Certainly had the potential to do well. The hard rockin' continues in “Don't leave me lonely”, with a great soaraway guitar opening, kind of Bon Jovi in its feel, certainly around the early eighties albums anyway, while for “Let him know” bryan legs it back to the sixties, with a very Beatlesesque tune.

The album closes on another ballad, nice digital piano leading in “The best was yet to come”, the sad tale of how things don't always end up the way they begin. There's a very lounge/cabaret feel about this, like you could see Adams onstage in some club in Vegas or somewhere singing this as people talk and drink and have their meal. It's a really nice song, but that's just the impression it gives me. As ballads go, on this album, I much prefer “Straight from the heart”.

Like I said, this is one hell of an album, and if you've always shied away from Bryan Adams due to his overpopularity and his sellout on that bloody song (which I love, sorry, but I know many people get physically sick when they hear the piano opening to “Everything I do”...), then take heart. Before he became mega-famous and more than a little of a caricature of himself, like Michael Bolton, Bryan Adams was a rocker. And he wrote some great songs. And made some great albums. And this is one of them.

TRACKLISTING

1. The only one
2. Take me back
3. This time
4. Straight from the heart
5. Cuts like a knife
6. I'm ready
7. What's it gonna be
8. Don't leave me lonely
9. Let him know
10. The best was yet to come
Suggested further listening: “Reckless”, “Into the fire”
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