Nightman Listens To – Bryan Adams – Get Up

Greetings, Glancers! We’re here, we’ve finally made it. At the time of writing this is Bryan’s latest album and so you won’t be hearing my thoughts on him for a while after this post. Thank Jeebus you say… and yet, you keep coming back for more. Now, the album contains thirteen tracks but four of these are acoustic versions of other tracks on the album. That leaves a pretty pathetic nine songs – I’m not going to bother with the acoustic versions, unless someone tells me they are radically different. So, for potentially the last time, lets do this.

You Belong To Me‘: What is this country wank? Aside from the twang guitar riff the rest of the song is okay – it’s incredibly simple and feels exactly like the sort of song which took a shorter time to write than the song actually lasts. It’s brief, the vocals are fairly clean as opposed to his usual gravel style, and the drums, bass, and guitar do exactly what they need to do to complete the song. It’s quite hooky, but quite forgettable.

Go Down Rockin‘: This has a similar vibe to Place Your Hands by Reef. There are no risks here, it’s old fashioned rock, sounds like it could be on a car advert featuring some Coupe zipping along a beachfront. It has a hooky chorus too, the lyrics don’t have anything we need to discuss, and even at under three minutes there’s too much repetition – still, it’s fairly fun.

We Did It All‘: Has some unusual (for Bryan) chord changes and rhythms in the verse, the chorus being more traditional and stronger. I quite like the chorus, tending towards that old school soft rock ballad style. There are some swirling effects which feel disorienting, the piano merges nicely with the rhythm guitar tone, but the lead guitar lines in the chorus feel misjudged and could have taken the song to another level if reworked. It does peter out towards the end.

That’s Rock And Roll‘: This starts out like another relic from the 50s. Then I guess that’s the point once I hear the lyrics. This is way too tame to really be considered rock and roll, even those tracks from the fifty had a fiery energy, burning passion, while this is just a pop song with 50s rock guitars and rhythm. The lyrics get worse as the song goes on, to the point where he’s explaining how to write a simple song… there’s a reason we progressed. Fuck those claps too.

Don’t Even Try‘: Right, so the whole album is going for a fifties vibe. The album so far is just a vanity piece, something which feels like a collection of bonuses that he should have given away for free or kept as an extra disc on an honest new album. All musicians reach that point when they decide to just do a covers album or force the fans to hear the artist’s inspirations reinterpreted. Having said all that, I quite like this one, though it’s about 60 years late to the party.

Do What Ya Gotta Do‘: Honestly, these songs are almost direct rip-offs of songs you already know, it’s quite funny. This one has a bit of The Who in it too, I like the refrain, again it has its hooks, not enough, and it’s incredibly simple. This was the shortest yet, barely scarping past two minutes.

Thunderbolt‘: This one has a bit of experimentation, I guess. The riff and backing is quirky, the drums sound very distorted, but there’s almost nothing to distinguish the chorus and verse making the two or so minutes feel very repetitive and annoying.

Yesterday Was Just A Dream‘: Finally. This one feels like a genuine Adams song and not something he’s nicked from his favourite childhood records. It’s quite sweet, and I like the melodies all the way through. I’d happily listen to this song again, but the rest of the album has left a sour quality which may taint anything good.

Brand New Day‘: We finish with a song that sounds like it could be a single (no idea if it was or not) and another which feels like a genuine Adams song, though it does have the fifties beat. The vocals in the chorus and pre-chorus sound like they have some silly filter on. More unnecessary clapping in the middle.

Well, that was… something. A bad something. Compare anything here with something like Thought I’d Died And Gone To Heaven and…. well, there is no comparison. Fair enough he can do whatever he wants, as any artist should, but you have to ask yourself if anyone else is going to want it. It’s a bit of a crap ending if he doesn’t make another album. I’m sure he had fun making it and the songs aren’t really bad, they’re just retreads of stuff done better sixty years ago.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Get Up!

Nightman Listens To – Bryan Adams – 11

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!

 

Nightman Listens To Bryan Adams – Room Service

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Greetings, Glancers! Well here we are at album number 10 for Mr Adams. Quite a feat sir, quite a feat. We’ve had highs, we’ve had lows, but I’m still listening baby. If an artist or band hasn’t gone sour by album 10, they are a rare breed, but time catches up on us all. Has time caught up with Adams here? I’ve no idea as I’m not confident that I have heard a single song from this album. The song ‘This Side Of Paradise’ sounds familiar, but I won’t know till I actually listen. According to online sources the album still sold fairly well worldwide, but didn’t make an impact in the US due to Adams not having a record company or something. It seems like most critics had abandoned him by now too, not that they were ever really on his side, to be fair. But I will be fair, for I am The Nightman, and wherever there are experiences to experience, The Nightman will give his four cents (the other two are a tip). What was I doing again? Ah yes.

‘East Side Story’ starts with Guitar and swirly noises. Familiar scratchy vocals. Basic verse. Sudden chorus. Fine. Plain. Doesn’t really rock, doesn’t really sway. Just nice, music for happy, well adjusted types.

‘This Side Of Paradise’ sounds like another light one. Spoken vocals. Oldsmobile. Sweet again. Nice again. Plain again. No edge, nothing infectious. I have no memory of this. I assume in a month’s time I will have no memory of this. Come on Bryan, ain’t you got another good’un in ya?

‘Not Romeo, Not Juliet’ opens with a jaunty piano and guitar duet. A little bit blues, a little bit country, a little bit rock. Now a little chorus with a little organ. He really loves his not-quite-ballads. This is basically the same song three times in a row. You can’t help but yawn. Still, I can’t really criticize it, it’s the sort of thing plenty people will enjoy – for me, it’s boring and inoffensive.

‘Flying’ is, cripes, it’s another ballad. This one feels better. Do people actually have sex (sorry, ‘make love’) all day? Wouldn’t you chafe? This is one for the candles and lighters and swaying arms. It’s better but still a little dull when compared with his bigger ballads.

‘She’s A Little Too Good For Me’ is faster, seems more upbeat. Still in lovey dovey ballad territory though. Woo, there we go. Drums. Decent lyrics. Reminds me of ‘Never Be Another Tonight’. This is good then – not quite good enough to make me sing its praises, but fun enough to make me want to listen again. Short too.

‘Open Road’ sounds like something from the last album. Up-tempo again. Driving song. Should have repeated that ‘on and on’ piece to enhance the bridge. Okay chorus. Two better songs then, three if we include ‘Flying’. Which we probably should. Lower grade hits are these  – songs to hide in your shuffle that will only pop out every few hundred songs to remind you that they exist. Still waiting for another song you want to have on your shuffle every ten songs.

I Was Only Dreaming‘ gets off into ballad territory, but immediately this one is much stronger. I actually like the brass just after the chorus. The verses are plain but they feel as if they are leading to something stronger, which they do – a good bridge, and a good chorus. Naturally, I like the strings and the whole arrangement is sound – this is more of an honest love song without being bogged down in sentiment or effort and as such is the best song on the album so far.

Right Back Where I Started From‘ opens with decent guitar, sounding more like the successful mid-nineties Adams stuff. It’s mid-tempo, gently rocks, but crucially it has clear melodies in the big chorus and fluttering through the verses. It feels like a happy, fun song and continues the increase in quality in the album’s second half.

Nowhere Fast‘ feels like another decent song. It’s another love song, because of course it is. But the melodies are there – verse, bridge, chorus – all good. Again it feels honest, and nothing is strained or forced. Nice little middle break for a few moments too.

Why Do You Have To Be So Hard To Love‘ starts off like a slow country ballad, little flutterings of piano and subtle guitar licks. A little bit of string in there too. It’s sweet enough, a nice one for a swaying dance though I’m not sure if the lyrics really qualify for such close quarters. This is a song about frustration so it would be better suited to some romantic drama where the woman throws a mug at the guy and the guy sits alone at a bar while some temptation slides up beside him. And then it’s over fairly quickly, a good choice rather than dragging the song out, so quite good overall.

Blessing In Disguise‘ is.. ugh… he’s just gone full country. I just don’t like this whole sound, never have. Uppy downy guitar, honky tonk piano and the same melodies you’ve heard since Billy The Kid was cruising the bars in the Old West. Okay, it does end up more like a blues country song by the end, but it’s just the opposite of everything I like.

Well, that final song sure dampened things after they were picking up. The album got off to a poor, slow start abut things improved around halfway. There is a terrible reliance on ballads and too many of the tracks lack ambition or stand out enough from their brethren present or past. There’s a few songs here that I’d gladly listen to again that I wasn’t previously aware of, but it isn’t an album I’d recommend from Adams and until I’m more familiar with the few good songs I couldn’t recommend those over other more obvious picks from his back catalogue. Still, it’s interesting to see the direction he went in for this album and I’m interested to see if his follow-up 11 follows in this vein. I don’t have high hopes for that one, but maybe we’ll get a few surprises.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Room Service!

Nightman Listens To Bryan Adams – Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron

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Greetings, Glancers! I was in two minds over whether to include this in my Bryan Adams series because it is a soundtrack album. I remember mocking this quite a bit when it came out – the movie looked pretty bad, and here was Bryan Adams singing an entire album about horses. What could possibly go wrong? Well, I’ve decided to include it because I haven’t heard any of it before, aside from some early promo stuff. I’m already listening to his other albums to I may as well dive into this one. Who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised?

Here I Am‘. It sounds familiar. Yes, this must have been the single. I have heard this. Doesn’t seem to have anything to do with horses. Annoying turn of the millennium drums for the chorus. Still, I like it. Catchy, sweet, inoffensive, fine. Even a little solo in there. Goes a little wonky towards the end with bizarre backing vocals and unnecessary padding.

‘I Will Always Return‘. Opening with evocative piano and wind. Ballad. Yearning. Nice melodies. Nice bridge. Nice chorus. Nice all round then, and short too.

You Can’t Take Me‘. Carpenter synth. Where did that come from? Well, it didn’t last long, as we break into some weird 80s rock noise. Verse okay, still sounds like it was written in the 80s. Good melodies though, I like it. Could do without that strange 80s instrumental piece though. Gets more punchy as it goes along.

Get Off My Back‘. A light rock start. Fun. Upbeat. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough. Sounds again like a standard Adams rocker. Fairly plain, but nothing bad. Like meh, but not as negative. I usually hate whistling in songs, but that last piece was catchy.

Brothers Under The Sun‘. Atmosphere. Dream sounds and words. Strings and synth. More nice melodies. Eerie. Similar melody and mood to Little Susie. The lyrics here are hopeful and positive, which doesn’t fit with the music but adds a deliberate melancholy. Pretty good.

Don’t Let Go‘. Synthy start. Soft again. Is that Dido? Or Sarah Maclaclan? McLachlan? Who knows. Verses a little plain. Chorus a bit better – nice again, not memorable on first listen. Sarah or whoever singing more. Seems a little padded too.

This Is Where I Belong‘. Whip noises. Growing. Voice and piano. Didn’t we play this one already? Maybe the lyrics are similar to a previous track. Nice again. That seems to see a recurring vibe – nice, gentle. There are a few songs left, and while nothing has been bad yet I’m already feeling this could really have been an EP as the songs are now at risk of running into one another.

Sound The Bugle‘. Synth. Sparkliy twinklies. Sad piano. Seems very similar to something I’ve heard elsewhere. Is this movie all death and despair? So many of the songs are on the darker tone of average. Good melodies. Soft. Quiet. Second chorus brings the noise. And strings, yay! A very odd sudden end.

Nothing I’ve Ever Known‘. A single guitar. Sad. Nice. Lovely. Verse not as good as intro. Okay chorus, veering awfully close to Blunt territory.

So, I skipped the Zimmer tracks and some of what appear to be reprises or shortened versions of the tracks above. I don’t feel too bad for laughing at the time of release, but of course it was unjustified. The songs here are good – none are going to change my world and I doubt I would listen to any of them again, but I wouldn’t turn them off or tune out if I hear them. It has made me want to watch the movie though. So, nothing memorable for me, but nothing bad – just a nice collection of movie soundtrack songs. Let us know in the comments what you think of this soundtrack. Share your favourite movie soundtracks too, and let us know if the movie is any good!

 

 

Nightman Listens T0 – Bryan Adams – On A Day Like Today

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I listen to Bryan Adams’s final album of the 90s, and his last great success (at time of writing) – On A Day Like Today. I remember this one based off the power of a couple of its singles, which saw Adams branching out into unfamiliar territory – a pop number with a girl group singer and a dance influenced song, both of which I quite liked. Adams released two other singles from the album – the title track which I vaguely remember liking well enough, and another track which I don’t recall at all just by reading its name. That gives me pretty much 10 songs I won’t know, so lets get on with it.

How Do Ya Feel Tonight: A soft opening to the album, nice melodies and gentle building. Eventually a heavier guitar comes in giving things a boost. A good opening song which I didn’t know existed five minutes ago.

C’Mon C’Mon C’Mon: Starts atmospherically, merging intriguing guitars with the odd bit of studio trickery. Again the guitar and drums come in after about a minute for a heavier chorus. Two pretty good songs so far, this one in particular. Some backing, sighing vocals in the middle but I can’t tell if its Adams or a woman or a Spice Girl. Nifty key change towards the end, I’d say this is one of the best songs from Adams I’ve heard so far which I didn’t previously know.

Getaway: More merging of guitars with studio sounds and a funkier beat this time. It seems the whole album has a more dance or pop influenced production so far, and it has all been to its credit. This one feels like a standard country rock song with the twang replaced with mysterious clanging guitars and knob-twisting. Ahem. A good enough chorus but I don’t think I’d remember this one by the time the album finishes.

On A Day Like Today: Starting out like another typical Adams ballad this one benefits from decent melodies and the inclusion of strings. The chorus is a good one too, with subtle guitar parts and a few changes in melody to keep things interesting.

Fearless: Nice intro, not sure about the organ or the country guitar touches. I like the guitars, the verse, and again the production. Oh hey, good chorus too. Looking at the track list before listening I was worrying that they’d put the best songs in the middle and that there would be too much filler around the edges, but so far we haven’t even reached the big singles and there hasn’t been a bad one yet. This does tire a little before the end, but still good.

I’m A Liar: Big drums, and another slow to middling beat. I think the key to this album so far is that they’ve abandoned a lot of the cheesier sounding 80s rock that popped up frequently on Adams’s albums but didn’t work alongside the big singles. Everything here feels more on an equal level and they all feel they could have been singles, if not hits. Another decent chorus follows another good verse. This one does drag a little towards the end too.

Cloud Number 9: I can’t remember of this was the first single from the album, and I can’t be arsed checking, but I do remember this raising a few eyebrows upon release. The remix worked well, not sounding like traditional Adams with the electronic beats and lack of guitar. Melodically and vocally it’s all classic Adams and when you hear the album version you’ll see there aren’t really many differences. We have soft guitars here, pianos too, but the chorus is pretty much the same.Uplifting, happy, bouncy stuff.

When You’re Gone: This one raised a few eyebrows too. Never a fan of the Spice Girls, because why would you bethey never the less had some decent solo songs. Skinny Spice was the best (only) singer and her voice works well with Adams’s more gruff vocals here. But it’s all about the melodies – fun, light, and catchy as herpes.

Inside Out: More electronic style beats, and sounds like another ballad. I don’t think I’ve heard this before. Okay verses, a little plain, a little static, feels like it’s building something. No big chorus comes though, a chorus yes but it feels like an extension of the verse rather than a pay off. Thirty seconds could have been shaved off this boyo too.

If I Had You: A squiggly opening few moments gives way to verses with only a drum and swirling sound backing.The guitar comes in for the second verse, all the while Adams breathes through simple, inexpressive melodies – it’s another one where the difference between verse and chorus is negligible making it feel a little repetitive.

Before The Night Is Over: This one gets off to a faster start, a more stripped back foot tapping rock song which does have a more prominent chorus. Decent verses, but overall nothing you won’t have heard Adams do before. It’s glossy and clean and perfectly listenable, just a tad forgettable.

I Don’t Wanna Live Forever: More fast beats and organ backing. I believe I have heard this one before, but I’ve no idea where unless it appears on one of his Greatest Hits albums.This one falls back on the filler type tracks of his earlier albums, but it keeps from being completely average thanks to the fun vibe and crisp production. It reminds me a little of Foo Fighters. The ending is interesting though.

Where Angels Fear To Tread: It seems like we’re closing with another ballad. Good airy production again. Drums a little tinny, sparse guitar and piano, and is that some strings I hear? Nice melodies, good vocals. There are a few odd sounds fading in and out in the background. I think this one doesn’t make an immediate impact but I could see it growing on me and others after a few listens.

Overall I’m surprised at how consistent and good this one was. The second half does tail off a little but there aren’t any bad songs and fewer filler songs than what we’re accustomed to. On the flip side, there are fewer obvious big hitters but a number of the songs are just as strong as the more well known ones. A good effort to close out the 90s with, and from here I will be entering entirely unknown territory. I remember laughing when his next album, the one about horses was released, and sneering that it couldn’t possibly be any good. I think I maybe heard the main single from it… was there a single? Anyway, I’ll find out if I was wrong next time.

Let us know what you think of On A Day Like Today in the comments and where you rank it out of your favourite Bryan Adams albums.

 

Nightman Listens To – Bryan Adams – 18 Till I Die

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Greetings, Glancers! Nightman reporting to you once again, and once again I’m going to share my thoughts on a Bryan Adams album. 18 Till I Die was the first studio album in five years by the Canadian after monumental successes in the late 80s and early 90s. There are plenty of songs here I have not heard before, and of course a bunch that I am familiar with – those which were released as singles. There are a few big hitters here and the album itself was still a success, if not as big as his previous smashes. Critics were less impressed feeling that the album was both disjointed and a poor attempt at retaining a youthful style and audience. What do we say we find out for ourselves?

The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You: This is an old fashioned rock stomper with a little bit o’blues and a little bit o’country. I was dreading hearing this again as I was worried I would find it too silly – it is silly no doubt, it is cheesy, but it has an infectious swagger that you don’t really hear anymore. It’s a catchy start to the album, harmless, and fun enough (with a decent bridge) to stay in the good books.

Do To You: This sounds like it’s repeating a lot of the tone of the first one, a good old fashioned rock song with some blues and country thrown in. There is harmonica, simple melodies, a foot-tapping beat, and a chorus which is light on the melody but easy to sing with. I do like that odd distorted guitar tumbling part that pops up every so often. It’s another short one, so the silly repetitive nature does not last long enough to cross the border between inoffensive and unlistenable. I like the little shift around the three and a half minute mark – unnecessary but nice nevertheless.

Lets Make A Night To Remember: I don’t remember much about this one, but I assume I have heard it before as it was a single. It’s a ballad, at least from the intro and verse. Oh, wait. I recognise the pre-chorus. And the chorus. So yes, I have heard this before but I must have allowed the verses to pass from my mind. Ironic. I don’t have anything bad to say about it yet, it’s a decent enough ballad with sweet lyrics and fine melodies. I’d say those swooning guitars alongside the vocals in the pre-chorus are the best bit. At over six minutes long it’s needlessly overlong as it gets the job done in four.

18 Till I Die: Everyone should know this one, as it’s one of the singer’s trademark songs, calling back to the youthful anthem stylings of Summer Of 69. It’s not as good as that one, but this is still Adams at the top of his game, it’s certainly an anthem, it certainly has a big chorus which will get the fist-pumpers into a frenzy and is sure to get those folks who wish they were still 18 moving and jumping like they’ve gone back in time.

Star: Starts in experimental fashion, the first song I think I’ve covered that doesn’t sound like a Bryan Adams song. Once the piano and vocals come in it finds its feet. Some of the melodies recall Everything I Do but it’s good enough to stand on its own. I haven’t heard this one before, seems like a fine, gentle ballad with a hymnal quality. I may get tired of this one after repeated listens, but it’s nice to hear this one for the first time.

I Wanna Be Your Underwear: The title feels like you can imagine what the song will sound like before you’ve even heard it. It does meet my expectations in most cases, aside from some extras in the introduction. Overall it feels like a Def Leppard song transposed into the 90s (I haven’t actually heard any 90s Def Leppard songs aside from When Love And Hate Collide – which I like). Slow paced, sleazy lyrics and guitars, though there is a very Bryan Adams break in the middle which doesn’t last very long.

We’re Gonna Win: I think I’ve heard this, must have been on a Greatest Hits. It’s pretty good, I like the pace and the building nature. As you many know I have a thing for songs which repeat the same ideas or melodies while building by getting faster, louder, or adding extra instruments into the fix. This one kind of fits that criteria, it’s pretty simple but has some nice melodic moments and a good chorus to pay off the build up.

I Think About You: This one starts like a country ballad and continues in a soft MOR acoustic vein. I don’t want to call it bland because it is nice enough, but I don’t get a strong sense of emotion from it. The chorus needs a bigger, better hook.

I’ll Always Be Right There: Has a soft and soothing opening too, guitars and strings before the vocals come in. It has a similar vibe to the previous song but this one feels much more honest and of better quality. This feels like a good wedding song. As you’ve probably seen I love ballads when done right, and anytime we have a swell of violins I can’t help but be enchanted. This isn’t the best song of this type that Adams has written, but it’s a very good effort.

It Ain’t A Party If You Can’t Come Round: It isn’t easy writing this with a laptop and a cat fighting for space on my lap. This is a strange one, harking back to plenty of Adams’s past work. It has a straight-laced rock approach but enough good melodies to keep it from being stale. I like the extended pre-chorus, the chorus itself is fine if a little too similar to songs he’s already written, and the verses are standard.

Black Pearl: So, it’s not about Pirates then. Another blues foot-tapper, hopefully avoiding any racist undertones, more sleazy rhythms, and nothing we haven’t heard before in verse or chorus. At least it stays under four minutes.

You’re Still Beautiful To Me: Another ballad now, this time one with a bit of pace to it. It’s another one I don’t remember hearing, but so far it’s okay. The chorus is fine, Adams sounds increasingly like Rod Stewart, but this one again overall feels a little too bland. The song also has no business being as long as it is.

Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman: It’s another one which anyone who was old enough to listen to music at the time this was released should know. I think this was a pretty big hit around the world, and although I don’t remember Don Juan De Marco making much of a commercial impact, the song did get Adams his second Oscar nomination. I do like this one, the husky vocals suit the burning romance nature of the film (if not the more dark suicidal and mental illness issues), and both verse and chorus melodies are top notch.

I think for the most part I enjoy this album. There are no stinkers, but there is a smaller number of obvious hits than what we’re used to. A couple of songs that I wasn’t previously aware of hit the mark, while the rest are middling efforts which just miss out on being good or offer nothing new to Adams fans. Although Adams is still writing and recording now, I think there is only one more studio album that I will be remotely familiar with, and that’s On A Day Like Today, coming up next. I should mention though that one of my favourite songs appears on his MTV Unplugged live album before One A Day Like Today – and that song is of course Back To You. I’m not sure why I like that one so much, it simply seems to click with me.

Let us know what you think of this album in the comments, and for more reviews try the links below!

Waking Up The Neighbours

Into The Fire

You Want It, You Got It

Bryan Adams

Nightman Listens To – Waking Up The Neighbours -Bryan Adams!

Greetings, Glancers! It’s time to return to Canada’s finest and have a walk through his most famous album, Waking Up The Neighbours. The purpose of these posts if you recall, was for me to revisit those artists from my youth and the albums I missed by them. I’m cheating a little with today’s post because I did own this album upon release and listened to it quite a bit around that time, but before long I started only listening to the songs I liked from it, and not long after gave up on it completely. In other words, it’s a hell of a long time since I’ve listened to it all, so that’s what I’m about to do.

While Reckless was the breakthrough hit, this is the album with all the classics and the one which truly cemented Adams as a force to be reckoned with. A certain song which featured in a certain films did very well around the world, but a flurry of other singles also sold by the reservoir full. I remember this being a fairly hefty album, so there may well be a lot of crap in here that I’ve forgotten about. Likewise, there could be one or two which I ignored then and may enjoy now. What are we waiting for. Plug in your earphones, and follow me down.

Is Your Mama Gonna Miss Ya?: Drums. Guitars. A little bit 80s. Standard white boy MOR rock. It’s the same sort of stuff from his early records but with much better production and a little more gloss and thought. It’s tame stuff with an okay chorus. It gets a little cheesy in places (hand claps), and could have been a minute shorter and had the same impact.

Hey Honey, I’m Packin’ You In: More of the same, really. Harmless old school rock, this time with a country vibe. Some odd lyrics which are pretty funny, there isn’t really much to speak about on this one. The chorus is fine again, nothing memorable.

Can’t Stop This Thing We Started: I remember the video of this one being embarrassingly cheesy, and the drums don’t make things much better. I always enjoyed this song though, it’s good fun and catchy as hell. If they replaced those drums with something a bit more sturdy we’d be flying. Great chorus and I’m still partial to that brief middle portion.

Thought I’d Died And Gone To Heaven: I always felt this one didn’t get as much recognition as it deserved. It’s a wonderful, atmospheric ballad. This one was a constant feature on the cassettes I used to record for car journeys. I can’t really fault this one, epic melodies throughout, although there is quite a difference between how sombre sounding the verses sound when compared with the jubilation of the chorus. What it’s doing in the 90s I’ve no idea as it’s clearly an 80s song.

Not Guilty: Speaking of those car journey cassettes, this song made many an appearance too, though it’s well over a decade since I’ve heard it. Hmm, I actually don’t remember this intro at all. This was one of the first songs I ever asked to be taught to play on guitar. There’s not much guitaring on display here though, aside from the riff. An odd choice given that I was already listening to G’n’R at this point. Maybe I loved the solo.The chorus doesn’t have the same impact now as it did then. I remember shouting along to this chorus, but there isn’t anything too amazing about it – catchy, not amazing.

Vanishing: I’ve been wanting to listen to this one as I can’t really remember it, but have some memory of really liking it. Now as I listen for the first time in maybe twenty years I can’t say I remember anything that I’m hearing. It has the feeling of another epic, the way it builds and the way the different instruments come into play. I think it’s a fairly plain rock song given the epic treatment to make it more interesting – no major melodies and when it feels like it’s going to build to a big chorus it all falls away with no end result. This feels longer than the five minutes it actually is, a little disappointing.

House Arrest: Another plain, simple rock song. Nice vocals of course, basic guitars, but nothing else to get excited over. It’s pretty heavy as far as Adams songs go. I can’t say I really remember a lot about this one, though I do recall shouting the chorus in my parents’ living room.

Do I Have To Say The Words: Ahh, now this one was probably my favourite from the album for the longest time. As you’ll know by now I’m a sucker for a well written ballad and this is about as good as they get. Again, it’s an 80s song that somehow sneaked into the 90s. I did a cover of this which was slower and emphasized the more atmospheric parts and cancelled out the lighter moments. Sure it’s a little cheesy now, but it’s still a superb, unusual song. Is it about love though? That chorus riff is the shit.

There Will Never Be Another Tonight: Now, this is how you do a whiteboy rock song, Bryan. This is a superb song with a lightning tempo, and it’s one of the only songs I’ve ever heard that actually makes me want to dance or, you know, leave the house and DO SOMETHING. It’s just so infectious and energetic, and the melodies are of course brilliant. It also has an excellent middle section to go along with the kick-ass verses and chorus. Great stuff.

All I Want Is You: Another 80s track that bopped over into the next decade when no-one was looking, this one has a lot in common with the rocker’s later 90’s input – the slow stomping verses and whispered vocals, followed by big chorus. I’d forgotten this one even existed so it’s funny hearing it again now. It has a lot in common with Def Leppard and Bon Jovi tracks of the time, with big stadium drums and a slower approach. This one could have had a minute shaved off it with no problems.

Depend On Me:I was just about to type that i didn’t remember this from the intro, but as soon as the verse vocals began I remembered. Not sure why I didn’t play this one as much when I was younger as it seems like one I should have liked. It is pretty cheese-driven, especially those lyrics, but we can forgive him for that. It’s a decent enough soft track with better verses than chorus, the chorus just missing some oomph. It does get a little heavier in the middle, but this isn’t carried over to where it’s needed.

(Everything I Do) I Do For It You: I don’t think we really need to discuss this one, do we? It’s had a lot of flack over the years, but it’s still a wonderful song and I loved seeing it on TOTP every week still sitting at Number 1. I still think it deserves to be regarded with the greats. It may not have done anything new, but it’s a perfect combination of music, melody, lyrics, and emotion. One piece that rarely gets mentioned as it was left out of the single version is the extended outro – tis lovely, I tell ye.

If You Wanna Leave (Can I Come Too): Another unnecessary and simple rocker. Plain verses, slightly more than plain chorus. You’ll groove along with it, but only if you’re a grandmother.

Touch The Hand: More wuss rock. I do remember liking this one a little bit around the time of release, but it never appeared on any of my car journey cassettes. Nothing much to say about this – simple two note riff, no melodies, unexciting chorus.

Don’t Drop That Bomb On Me: I do remember this one and that I wished I like it more so nice to hear it again now. The start is great but then the Mutt Lange influence comes through and all I hear is that awful Def Leppard sound with all the ‘heys’! It’s annoying because there is a good song in here if they’d only cut out those shitty 80s drums, write a better verse melody, bin the ‘heys’ etc. The chorus is excellent, the intro is great, clean up everything else and you’ve got a real song. Great vocal performance though, apart from the ‘heys’.

So, there you go. It is quite a large album, and there are some skippers in there. Mostly those are the too-tame rock songs which sound like they could have been written in the early 1950s and performed with more panache then. There’s a much better album in here if we kept the stronger rock tracks and the epics and hits. It has been nice to revisit this one, but there wasn’t really anything that immediately leapt out at me which I’d lost over the years – it looks like I’ve remembered the best tracks and discarded the rest, as it should be.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of this album – is it too much cheese for one (two) ear to handle, or do you rank any of the songs highly?

Nightman Listens To – Bryan Adams – Into The Fire

Greetings, Glancers. Lets take another trip down memory lane as I listen, for the first time, to another album that somehow passed me by. I’ve you’re a regular reader of these posts, you’ll know that in my youth I was a pretty big Bryan Adams fan. The primary reason for my fandom was that I owned a double cassette featuring Cuts Like A Knife and Reckless, the 3rd and 4th albums by the Canadian superstar. As I’ve listened to those albums countless times, we won’t be covering them here, as the purpose of these posts is me catching up on the albums I never experienced.

By 1987, and after the success of the aforementioned two albums, Adams was riding high critically and commercially. What is notable since the last time we visited Mr Denim is that the songwriting has drastically increased in quality, along with the production values, and the vocals are a hell of a lot stronger and distinct now. This album sought to continue the run of hits, but looking at the track list I only recognise the titles of three songs. I’m not too sure why I never owned this album when I was younger, considering I owned the previous two, and 1991’s follow-up. Nevertheless, I’m eager to hear the seven tracks that I don’t know and see if they are hidden gems or forgettable pap. Lets do this!

‘Heat Of The Night’ – We start with the song I’m most familiar with, another mid-rock song with plenty of hooks that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on either of the previous two albums. For much of the song it doesn’t sound like there will be a chorus, then it jumps out at you without warning. It has a clear 80s rock vibe, but avoids sounding like 80s cheese – no silly references, no silly extra instruments, just stomping rhythms and strong melodies.

‘Into The Fire’ continues the theme of man coming into contact with flammable substances such as boobs, presumably. We start with some odd synth noises, making way for a crash of 80s drums and a nice scream by Adams. This one is sung in a pretty high register, straining the gruff vocals just the way I like it. There’s an 80s Springsteen vibe, the pace is middling, and while the melodies are fine the chorus lacks a strong hook. We do get an interesting middle section and solo though. A decent track that I’m sure I would have enjoyed more had I heard it when I was younger.

‘Victim Of Love’ sounds like our first ballad – big drums, slow pace, drifting vocals, a power ballad rather than a soft one. A nice melding of piano and guitar, well sung, but the chorus is a bit of a non-entity. The vocals get more shouty as the song progress, and the guitars get heavier too, but the song feels like it’s reached the end of its course by the three-minute mark, even though there’s over a minute remaining. The final minute is a loop of the chorus as the music gets more chaotic. An odd one.

‘Another Day’ increases the speed, the first fast paced entry on the album. More pianos, decent lyrics about the tougher side of city life, ok melodies. Nice solo in the middle, a bit of a honky-tonk feeling, followed by a brief break, then looping round for a final verse and chorus. Fin.

‘Native Son’ is the fourth title I remember, I must have passed it over when I first checked the track list. I never really appreciated this one when I was younger, but it’s one of the strongest tracks so far. Another Springsteen vibe, I love the building of the song, the increasing sense of momentum. I’ve no idea why I don’t remember this one as much as others as it’s pretty damn good. It has freedom in its construction, allowing the melodies to be loose and giving the opportunity for more variance in what Adams does with the vocals. The lyrics appear to be about the Native American plight, but I was too busy appreciating the music first time around, so I’d need to listen again. Good solo, the six minutes don’t feel stretched here thanks to the variance and construction already mentioned. I’d gladly consider this a hidden gem as I’ve somehow forgotten it existed.

‘Only The Strong Survive’ is one I have actually heard before, but I don’t remember it. Now, that is even more bizarre given that it was on the soundtrack of Renegades – one of my favourite movies as a kid. I can only assume that I knew this was a Bryan Adams song, but didn’t like it. It’s fast paced, from what I remember of the movie, it doesn’t really fit the movie, but it’s still high energy, good fun, with a singable enough chorus. In the annals of 80s soundtrack hits though, it doesn’t make an impact.

‘Rebel’ feels like another Springsteen track – lyrics about blue-collar workers, gruff vocals blasted out alongside stadium drums and guitars. This one feels familiar, but I can’t say conclusively that I’ve heard it. Some strong melodies dotted here and there, though the chorus isn’t as powerful as it thinks it is. The verses are much stronger and the chorus, while aiming to be anthemic, feels a little flat.

‘Remembrance Day’ is the third track (from my intro) that I remember, another longer song, and another one that I only listened to rarely. I wonder if it now feels better in my old age. Clearly a song about war, I remember this one as more of a ballad than it actually is. It’s more of a straightforward rocker with prominent bass and blasting drums. It’s actually a pretty simple song, and not particularly memorable – the chorus is fine, a decent one to shout out live, but overall it’s a bit too rambling for my liking. I appreciate the dedication, but it isn’t one of the stronger songs of its ilk.

‘Hearts On Fire’ is NOT the song you’re thinking of from Rocky IV – Rocky vs Russia, but it’s an equally serviceable rocker. This one again features big drums, organs, and a nice lead riff. Fortunately the chorus is good on this one, and the verses stand up too. A simple, light-hearted up-tempo song with memorable melodies, it’s one of the better songs on the album.

‘Home Again’ closes the album, and has the most 80s intro of any song on the album yet. It begins with power ballad stylings, all scorching vocals and atmospheric synth and piano – shortly after comes a stadium crushing chorus. This sounds like another hidden gem, and I don’t believe I have heard this one ever before. Good verses, great chorus, and similar to Straight From The Heart and Heaven, but not quite reaching those heights. A good album to what has turned out to be a good album.

So, Adams, manages to make it three strong releases in a row, I knew there was a reason I liked him so much. There aren’t really any duffers here, but there are a few near-duds, and less obvious classics than on the previous two albums. Everything else though ranges from decent to strong, and in Home Again and Native Son I have two tracks I can stick on repeat and absorb into the Nightman memory banks until dementia claims them. By then though, my consciousness can be uploaded to the uber-cloud and it won’t matter. Enjoy!

Nightman Listens To – Bryan Adams – You Want It You Got It!

Greetings Glancers! It’s time once again for me to open the archives and blast my ear-openings with the music of my youngling days, specifically, those albums I missed by artists I liked. Today’s choice cut comes to you once again from Canadian Denim wearer, Bryan Adams – known to his his friends as ‘Bryan’. Mr Denim’s 2nd album You Want It You Got It has more songs that I am familiar with when compared with his average first album, and according to various sources is the first album where he began to wear that true authentic Denim sound. You Want It? You Got It..

Denim

Lonely Nights: A twangy, tinny, upbeat riff opens one of my favourite Adams songs. The trademark gruff vocals are here, the simple verse chorus verse construct, and good old-fashioned driving melodies and belting chorus. It holds up well today, sure it’s cheesy, sure there is nothing groundbreaking, but it doesn’t suffer much from age or from being from unique period of the 20th Century when rock stars forgot how to make good music, known as the 80s.

One Good Reason: A slow, thudding drumming accompanied by organ doesn’t get this off to the greatest start. Adams appears to be talking his way through the verses. Backing la la las. The bridge feels a little awkward, and the chorus comes out of nowhere and doesn’t really feel like a chorus. It’s nice enough, sounds a bit shitkicker, but it’s instantly forgettable. I’m bored before the 3 minute mark, but it’s still going. Is there a dreaded organ solo coming? It sounds like they just kept playing, lost in the sound while Adams appears to be having multiple orgasms. Good.

Don’t Look Now: More drums, more organs, it’s turning very 80s. Better verse melodies, sudden chorus again. Sounds like a precursor to many later songs. Lots of shouting. I’m not certain what the message of ‘Baby, don’t look now – I’m coming around’ is meant to be, but it sounds a little rapey. At least this one doesn’t outstay its welcome. Too much.

Coming Home: Uh oh. Piano, soothing oohs, and synth. This doesn’t bode well. Springsteen. Gentle, not a lot of variance between the verse or chorus, and once again the chorus is really just the singing of the title twice before returning to the verse. Middle bit, guitar solo coming next I assume. Nope, a weird bass sound then return to ooohs. More singing. At least the sound is a little more expansive than the first album, but this is all very simple, and in truth the emotion isn’t coming over well.

Fits Ya Good: Now we’re into hair territory with a shouted, counted intro and thumps and guitars. I accidentally read the title as ‘Fist Ya Good’ then wept. Now I’m laughing and I’ve missed the first part of song. I won’t be rewinding. Second verse coming up. Words, presumably about fashion, but Adams sounds drunk. Sing the title for the chorus, four times, guitar solo. Some mumbling and howling, then more chorus and more howling. Ending collapse.

Jealousy: Weird galloping piano, interesting rhythm. Put the raisins back in my head? Ah, now a few more words are added to the chorus to explain the effects of jealousy on the male brain. I’m a little metal fool? Melodies are fine, the chorus may get some likes, but again there’s little here that people withe memories will remember.

Tonight: Dump-puh dump-puh dump-puh dubudu-dump. Etc. Ok, I like the chord choice. I don’t like the vocals. Come on chorus, give me something good. Nice try, but not what I would have gone with. An ok song, but a strong shell let down by weak insides – could have been better. A bizarre middle with only drums, then twinkles, then Adams shouting then buzzing then Robert Harvey impressions then guitar. Yes, could have been a good’un.

You Want It, You Got It: Faster. Skippy boppy bippy floppy bippy boppy boo. Shouting the chorus at me. I’m not sure what it is I’m supposed to want, but apparently I got it. An all round weird song with fast verse, slow chorus and unknown words being thrown about and a strange twiddly guitar solo. People are shouting in the background towards the end, but out of time and I’m not sure what the purpose is – why are all these people shouting, what did I do? What did I do!? Adams chokes to death in the final seconds.

Last Chance: Only to resurrect for a final hurrah. It’s someone’s last chance to gain some Denim crotch fun so my advice is to turn tail and beat foot outta there – it’s your last chance! Nothing to mention about the verses, the chorus isn’t much better, but there is a sax solo accompanied by more howling and shouting. Ooh, a little temp and tone change. But it comes to nothing.

No One Makes It Right: A closing ballad. Softer vocals. No-one holds a knife like you do? If I’m hearing all the lyrics correctly, and I’m almost certainly not, then this is an extremely violent album featuring deviant sexual acts beyond the realms of normality or even Canada. Anyway, musically this is fine, very cheesy, slow dance stuff, the melodies are almost memorable but just miss out on hitting that sweet-spot.

A much more gruff Adams appears to be having a lot more fun with this album, maybe because they were live studio recordings, maybe he had more freedom, I don’t know. The songwriting shows moments of improvement, but it’s still overly simple and there are few stand out moments. Don’t worry folks, as you’ll have no doubt seen, I’ll be tackling some of the, reportedly, best albums of all time soon on Nightman Listens, so my comments may begin to make more sense, more or less, and not be so negative, unless of course I strongly disagree with the choices given in Colin Larkin’s Top 1000 albums, which I almost certainly will.

Nightman Listens! To – Bryan Adams (Bryan Adams 1980)

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Hello again, aimless wanderers. A lot of the three people who read this blog regularly are probably thinking ‘Bryan Adams!? What the balls? Why would anyone listen to that?’ Before and after repeatedly slapping your face, I would say that this is my blog and I’ll listen to whatever da hell I like. Now, I understand that a lot of you come here to peruse my top Iron Maiden, Led Zep, Manics, and Radiohead lists, and may sneer at the likes of Bryan Adams as a musician, but the fact is that Adams wrote some of the best straightforward rock songs of the 80s and 90s. As mentioned elsewhere, Michael Jackson was the first artist who really got me into music, and after that came GnR, Nirvana, and so on. But there were other artists at the time who, while they didn’t exactly bridge the gap between Jackson and metal, were a close enough link between pop and rock that I could appreciate them. Roxette, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, all had great songwriting abilities, wrote catchy tunes with fat-ass choruses, and they also had guitars which, to my pre-pre-teen mind, meant they must be cool. And I refuse to deny my former self as some sort of alien who must be shoved aside. So, with that in mind, I will cover some of the aforementioned artists, and those albums I either missed, never owned, or never fully listened to, or have since forgotten over time. Starting with Bryan Adams’s debut 1980 album:

Hidin From Love: 80s drums, synth disaster. Big guitar. Sounds a little cheap. Bryan sounds young. Halfway into you dodgy sex words. Queen pre-chorus. A typical big chorus to get the crowd chanting. Decent pass, decent melodies. Average solo. A young artist, but clearly has ability to write a hook and pen a hit.

Win Some, Lose Some: Slower pace. Still big drums and guitars, and presumably, hair. Songs about love and drinkin. From my time cruisin the highways of the US I imagine this is the sort of thing some rockers would have tapped their hands to whilst drifting down the road with the top down, on their way to pick up a six-pack or some such. Inoffensive, simple.

Wait And See: Catchy riff. Organ. Faster pace. A middle paced rocker. Typical 80s chorus, grabs you, cheesy, but grabs you. Decent, short solo. Rinse and repeat.

Give Me Your Love: Slow. Oh dear. 80s rock ballad as its cheesiest. Echo vocals. Simple words, melody, chorus. Still listenable, but not in front of your friends. Or enemies. High pitched love vocal. Solo? Yes, it’s all present and accounted for. Fairly bland for an Adams ballad. Come on, come on, nothing more to see here.

Wastin Time: Stomping. Food tappin’ good times. Skeep-da-deep-da-do! Straight into chorus. Needs a pre-chorus. Again pleasant chorus, but not memorable. Woo hoo. Picking up the thump in second verse. Daddy. Is there a solo coming? Yes, now. Fine. Chorus for another time, along with guitar twaddles. Scream. Repeat intro as outro.

Don’t Ya Say It: Pianos.woo-hoos. Motown? It definitely has a Motown, near disco-vibe. Interesting, this doesn’t remind me of any other Bryan Adams songs, I wonder if it is a cover. Nice enough melodies. Oh lord, a saxomophone solo – so it is the 80s then.

Remember: Noyse, drums, laugh. Ooh, I know this one. Must be on a greatest hits somewhere. Nice pacing and building. Aah, finally, a memorable chorus. That explains the title then. Decent tune, just lacking a bit of oomph. Ah yes, a disastrous synth disaster.

State Of Mind: Ballad. Piano. Sounds like Queen. Organ. Songs not given much breathing space, they seem to be BASH verse BASH chorus, end. Simple again, nothing special. BASH.

Try To See It My Way: Thomp. Romp. I think I know this one. Oooh. Ah, interesting, a different structure. Slightly. Sounds like the intro soundtrack to an 80s movie. Ally Sheedy. Tired of working in a bank. Bumps into Andrew McCarthy. They need to see it their way. Love prevails. Song and movie end.

So, Adams had not yet reached the peaks of his songwriting abilities. Sure, this is inoffensive stuff, but there are barely 2 or 3 memorable tracks, and certainly nothing up to the standard of his later, more illustrious works. Interesting, and quite funny as a historical piece, but surely one for diehard fans only.