This is one that’s resulted in a few raised eyebrows when I mention it and a few gasps when I say that I own a copy. It is Bryan Adams, after all. Some even ask whether I got confused when attempting to buy a Ryan Adams album. I roll my eyes at that joke, of course. I mean, c’mon. anyway, I picked up Bryan Adams’ Reckless not too long ago for £2 (£1.99, to be precise) when browsing Mixed-Up Records’ Discogs stuff. Now, I’d spotted a couple of his records during my many digs, but I wasn’t really interested in buying any. Hadn’t even considered buying any; after all, I hadn’t listened to a Bryan Adams album for over 20 years (I owned Waking Up the Neighbours on tape – purchased from the Britannia Music Club back in 1992 I think). But anyway, I was aware of Reckless and it has some really ace songs. Songs that make me smile. So, when I spotted it for a penny short of £2 I couldn’t resist.
I appreciate that Mr. Adams has his critics due to his more schmaltzy output (I dare say I’m one of them), but there’s a bunch of good songs on here. Some of them genuine rockers, too. A look at the internets also tells you that Kerrang! listed this at 49 on their “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”. Yup, you read that right folks. While I’m not sure this qualifies as heavy metal, I admire their enthusiasm.
There’s something like seven singles on here. Seriously. I remember way too many of these for someone who never owned the album. So they must have been singles, right? Of course, I would imagine that Summer of 69 and Run To You are the ones that folks would be most familiar with. I dare say most folk really like those two numbers. Even Adams’ detractors. It’s also pretty interesting to listen to those songs now. Big singles and still tracks that get a fair bit of airplay.
One finds our man here reminiscing about a summer of love where he and his lady getting caught up “in a 69” (he said in an interview back in 2008 that it’s nothing to do with the year). There was me thinking it was all about his band and their dreams of being full-time rock n’ rollers crashing to the ground when life came a’ calling. Before the commitments to wifes and jobs and such, they had plans to tour the globe and get their hands on free stuff and rake it in through sell out tours and commercial endorsements. But no, Adams was reminiscing about his sexual exploits with his summer love. Still, for many it remains a Springsteen-esque rock anthem that throws the listener into Adams’ story of a small town lad with big rockin’ dreams, amaright?
Then there’s Run To You Easily; easily one of the best songs in Adams’ catalogue. A stone cold classic, but again it’s strange cause he’s singing about his other lady. There’s a conflicting message here. First, his woman has a love for him that’ll “never die”, but he’s soon justifying the affair by saying that “her love is cold, it wouldn’t hurt her if she didn’t know”. He comes clean, though. Admitting that he’s just all for the sexy time cause it’s, well, sexy time (“I know her love is true, but it’s so damn easy makin’ love to you”). So, it seems our man Adams has dubious morals. But at least he’s not Robin Thicke, right? I should also go ahead and point out that the tune itself is still brilliant – particularly the bass.
The other tracks on here worthy of attention (and Kerrang!’s accolade) are She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing (lifting riffage and everyone loves hand-claps, right?) Heaven and Somebody (the power ballads that Adams excels at). Side two actually boasts the real rockers, though. It’s Only Love (with Tina Turner) is still a bunch of fun and, while I don’t know about heavy metal, Kids Wanna Rock has some big riffage that reminds me of some of the fun AC/DC stuff, while Aint Gonna Cry is sorta like Van Halen. Maybe. At a push.
Adams will likely always find himself labelled schmaltzy thanks to his run of power, and just plain insipid, ballads. But Reckless is still a pretty smashing collection of songs. Even if it sounds a bit dated at times.
* My copy is is in really good condition. Looks like whoever owned it didn’t like it much. The record has just a few slight marks, the cover a few dents at the corners and the original inner has been replaced by a plain white one. If you fancy, there’s obviously a shiny new 30th Anniversary reissue with a bunch of bonus cuts and, if you go deluxe, a live performance.