One benefit to having flawless taste in music is never having to write a "guilty pleasure" list or be embarrassed when you admit to liking certain songs. This is going to shock you, boys and girls, but Bryan Adams was not always a wanker. No, really. It's true. I'm not saying he was all the way good, only that he wasn't always a total wanker.
I hear you. Yes, he wrote some utter shite and schmaltz and right you are about all those fucking movie songs. I can't defend anything about the Robin Hood movie or song. "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" does sound an awful lot like book reports I wrote in 3rd grade when I was trying to meet a minimum word count (...it was a really, really good book. I really, really liked it. It was really, really, really funny...). All of that is true and yet... not always a complete wanker.
So here are five Bryan Adams songs that are pretty damn good.
- "It's Only Love": Hey, kids, if you want your song to not suck, get Tina Turner to sing it with you. Tina is great on this one and the riff is pretty badass if not the most original. The lead guitar work has some tasty turns and the lyrics are solid. This is a good, sturdy rocker and Tina Turner sings. I can listen to this one any day.
- "Run To You": Bryan Adams tried looking like a ruffian and scoundrel on the cover of his album Reckless, an image what doesn't really fit. There's nothing sinister going on here but there's something edgy in the guitar melody and vocal, evoking a late night, libidinous run. There are a lot of bad, bad '80s productions that sound horrible and dated but Adams managed not only to avoid this on a few of his songs but actually recorded guitar sounds that were good then and now.
- "Summer of '69": I wasn't born in time to live the summer of love, 1969, and 2069 is a long shot at best. I'll never have the joy of living in '69 and that's sad for me. Forget the year or the innuendo; this is a song about good memories, the innocence of youth, and living the unmagnificent lives of adults.
- "Is Your Mama Gonna Miss You?": Another good idea if you want your records to be good and sell: get Mutt Lange to be your producer. This is a silly song from the multi-platinum Waking Up The Neighbours co-written by Adams and Lange. It borrows from a litany of rock clichés with a wink and a nudge. This could have just as easily wound up on a Def Leppard record- I'm not all the way convinced Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, and Rick Savage aren't singing the backing vocals on this.
- "Cuts Like A Knife": This song still gets covered today by rock and country artists. Adams isn't startlingly original; he's competent and sturdy and so are most of his songs. They're just good enough. This metaphor existed long before Adams got around to writing this but he made it work well and, again, this holds up some 25 years later. I'm serious. Go listen to it.