Greetings, Glancers! We are well and truly off the beaten, choked, eviscerated, and charred path now. Yes, that’s right – I have not heard any piece of any song on this album. Mr Adams released his 11th studio album imaginatively titled The Cardboard Cut-Out Breasts Symphony but then changed to the more palatable 11 in 2008. A lot of other bands and artists have had albums entitled 11 but I haven’t heard those either, so I’ve no idea why I even mentioned it. Just filling up space I guess. What do you call a guy with leaves in his hair? Russell.
The album made it into the top ten in various countries – not the US – and was received with critical nonchalance. I wonder what I will think. What do you think? What do you call a guy who only sleeps in front of doors? Matt! Oh look, there’s 11 songs too. I wonder if the albums lasts 11 minutes.
Tonight We Have The Stars. Guitar and swirling. Atmosphere. Vocals. More swirling. Decent though not overly exciting. His vocals sound a little odd in the chorus. He sounds younger or something, less gruff. Definitely written to be a hit, but not sure it has big enough hooks. A decent start.
I Thought I’d Seen Everything. Fading in. Chord clang. Distant beats. More chords. Vocals. Nice verse. Wholesome. Drums. Verse again, seems okay. Good chorus. So far these sound like two middle of the road commercial soft rock songs – better than average, maybe better than what you’d expect from someone at this point in their career, but definitely not strong enough to win over fans or stand alongside his big hits. A tier below, but better than a lot of his standard album tracks.
I Ain’t Losin’ The Fight. Guitars. Harmonica. Don’t be going all country on me now. Slow steady beat. Piano. American dad rock. Building. Not much of a change heading into the chorus meaning this comes off as little one note. Lots of boxing lyrics. He should name drop Apollo Creed. ‘Baby you got everything I need/Like a ring, a crowd, and Apollo Creed’. More easy listening than rock.
Oxygen. Guitars. Faster. Drums. Faster. More atmosphere. Low register. Beat doesn’t change for the chorus but sounds more urgent. Another decent track, maybe would have been something more if he’d written it in his heyday. Probably the best track so far, a little more edge. He has shouted ‘come on’ in every song so far though. He seems quite adamant that he needs oxygen every day. I’m fairly sure we all do, bud.
We Found What We Were Looking For. Yawn noise. Light beats. Light vocals. More decent verse work. Oh, oh, strings. Building. Guitar blast. Slow down. That was a weird change of beat and sound. More strings. This one is growing on me, even though it’s nothing special. It’s very nice and I could happily listen to it again. Not so sure about the middle section which pulls away some of the momentum.
Broken Wings. More slow MOR country rock stuff. Fine, not bad, not great, not anything.
Somethin’ To Believe In. Guitars. Vocals. A little plain. Strings coming in. Rest of band. Backing vocals. One to slow dance to but not very exciting. Still has a country vibe. Sudden pause. Key change. Same. Bit boring.
Mysterious Ways. Piano and guitar. Slow again. Strings. I am having difficulty finding the album on youtube so I’m listening to some of these as live versions. This sounds familiar. Plain verses. Big ‘ohohoooh’. Funky organ. Slow chorus too. A little boring again.
She’s Got A Way. Digi beats. Slow again. Piano and vocals. Absent guitars. Now guitars. Bulding. Yeah it’s awfully cheesy but sincere. I’ve always wondered how people can keep writing love songs after so many decades. Like I keep saying, there are other things to write about. He isn’t saying anything new here so it’s all extremely familiar ground. Fine but forgotten after five minutes.
Flower Grown Wild. Apparently this was written for or about Amy Winehouse. Simple chords, nice lyrics. Nice melody. The chorus is mostly wank. In fact, all of the song is pretty good except for the chorus – it needed something more powerful.
Walk On By. Guitar. String. Greyhounds again. Will he say ‘come on’ or ‘lets go’ again? Slow. Very plain. Simple. I assume this is supposed to be inspiring, but it’s too plain with nothing to grab you.
All in all this is exactly the sort of album you would expect Adams to release at this stage of his life. There is nothing new, no experimentation, no chances taken, but for his many existing fans that won’t be a problem. It lacks the energy and hits of his early days but where that is lacking he makes up for it with plaintive, easy listening ballads which will always find an audience. Again by now he has written so many songs of a similar style, structure, and sound that many are blending into one – there are a few songs here with enough verve or which generate enough interest that I would listen to them again, but outside of those I can’t see myself ever returning to this album.
Let us know in the comments what you thought of 11 if you have heard it!