From the desk of the Rock N Roll Hall of Shame:
Bryan Adams—The Crooner from Vancouver: A Retrospective
In the strange and confusing history of rock and roll, some artists’ popularity and longevity remain a mystery. Eddie Money and Meatloaf are two that come to mind.
But no artist’s popularity and success is more confounding, more head scratching than that of Bryan Adams. He is what a Russian immigrant grandmother might conjure as an ideal rock star. His music is a strange amalgam of creepy and incomprehensible nostalgia, driven by clichéd sentiments and even more clichéd backbeats. He is like the weird bastard child of Simon Cowell and John Mellencamp.
We at the Rock N Roll Hall of Shame tm have reviewed, studied, and thoroughly mocked Mr. Adams’ career, and now, gentle reader, we wish to share our research and pain with you.
We begin in 1983. A young Mr. Adams, fresh faced and ready to RWAK, unleashes the single “Cuts Like a Knife” upon an unsuspecting world. This is nominally a song about a young lady who leaves the narrator for “someone new.” The narrator laments that he “took it all for granted” but he was completely shocked and taken aback when she was “letting go” (presumably of their love). Okay. The narrator is surely immature. A child. A baffoon. Of course the young lady will look for someone new. Besides, Kiss just rolled through town, and you know, Gene Simons is good with the ladies…But then Adams hits the inexplicable chorus: “Well it cuts like a knife/but it feels so right…”
Hmmm. First of all, why would the girl leaving you for someone else “feel so right?” This makes no sense. Is this some sort of deranged white boy Canadian blues type thing? Of course this is a minor piffle compared to the inane and absurd simile employed as the song’s title and main idea: Cuts like a Knife. Is this how Mr. Adams employs similes?
--“Is it still raining Bryan?”
“Yeah, boy, it’s wet as water out there!”
--“Whew, it sure is hot out today, huh Bryan?”
“Absolutely, it’s as hot as fire man!”
--“Say Bryan, it’s really cold out there!”
“Yup, as cold as ice!” (oh, wait…that was another band…uhh...anyway…)------------------------
We now come to Mr. Adams’ break out hit, the song that had America shaking its rear in faux nostalgic ecstasy: “Summer of 69.”
At first blush the song is a tender look back to the youthful and carefree days of the 60s and the innocence of first love. But there is something about the song that does not quite jibe, something about the song that just does not add up. After many weeks of exhaustive research and many a late night drinking beer, the research staff at the Rock N Roll Hall of Shame has uncovered an inaccuracy in the Summer of 69 that very well may shake the rock world to its very foundations. The sad and ugly truth is this: Bryan Adams was born in November of 1959, which would have made him all of NINE YEARS OLD during the summer of 1969. “Those were the best days of [his] life”? You were “young and restless, and needed to unwind”? At nine? Jesus. How sad.
After many more beers and a round with something an intern called “a hookah” we came upon the theory that the “Summer of ‘69” may not be referring to the fabled summer of Woodstock, free love, and hippies, but instead is referring to the famous sexual position: soixante-neuf (69), which if true, would indeed qualify as the best summer of a young adult’s life (and we would have to seriously have to reconsider our opinion of Mr. Adams). At any rate, the song takes on a completely different meaning if you listen to it in this way. ----------------------
Bryan Adams really hit his stride in the middle 80s with the belching and farting power ballad “Heaven.”
First of all, we find ourselves in full on nostalgia mode “thinkin’ about all our younger years” sung by a gent who is all of 25 years old. But it isn’t the faux nostalgia that is offending in this song—no—it’s the nonsense lyrics that make us want to put our face through a pane of glass: “Baby you’re all that I want when you’re lyin’ here in my arms, I’m findin’ it hard to believe we’re in heaven…” So wait a minute. Let me get this straight. The girl is all that he wants. He loves her, and is singing this grand power ballad for her, yet he’s finding it “hard to believe we’re in heaven”? Huh?
He then goes on to croon “Nothing is all that I need, and I found it there in your heart…” What? You found NOTHING in her heart. Real romantic Romeo. The strangest part of this song is the creepy video which is, I’m guessing, his vision of heaven. It consists of Adams slobbering on his microphone to hundreds of television sets with (we’re guessing) the girl he loves. Ugh. This vid is just too much. Depression. Despair. Total breakdown. The beer helps. Beer definitely helps. And the hookah thingy. Yup, ahhh, yump. -----------------------------
For the sake of your sanity, dear reader, as well as ours, we skip ahead a few movie power ballads (don’t act like you don’t know what we’re talking about) to the dawn of the millennium. Here we find Mr. Adams in his 40s, with a severe crew cut and an ironic desire to appear hip. This is where many RNRHoS researchers and interns became inconsolable. The song in question is, quite frankly one of the dumbest songs ever written. A song that makes fucking Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” sound like a Leonard Cohen song. A song thats premise is a pick up line that has never and will never work. Yes, astute reader, you guessed it, Adams' 2000 raver: “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me, Is You.” No amount of critical distain can do justice to the sheer macho idiocy of this song. Watch at your own risk----------------------------------
So there you have it kind reader. It is our pleasure to indict Bryan Adams into the Rock N Roll Hall of Shame. We hope you will join us again as we consider the wretched and shameful careers of hack rockers and lame balladeers.
(We recently received a note from the talented and respected singer songwriter RYAN ADAMS who informed us that he was pleased and grateful for our induction of Bryan Adams into the Rock N Roll Hall of Shame. He is hopeful that “we can put any confusion behind us, and that the next motherfucker that calls out “Summer of 69” at one of his concerts will be drawn and quartered").