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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bryan Adams

Tracks of My Years

Review by Gary Hill

Doing an album of covers seems to be a trendy thing, as it has been for quite a few years. Some do it better than others. So, coming into this set, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Additionally, I’ve never been a huge Bryan Adams fan. Sure, I’ve liked his hits. I remember seeing him as an opening act once in the 80s, but I really don’t remember much about the show. I’ve never really followed him, though. When you add in the fact that I’m not a big fan of the kind of music he touches on here, I didn’t have extremely high expectations. The thing is, I like this album a lot. Sure, Adams’ voice has a tendency to be a little raw at times. He always manages to hit the right notes, and that edge to his voice brings a certain authenticity and sense of the miles traveled. He’s made me like songs that I never liked before. This is a great album, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Any Time At All

This roots rocker is the kind of thing one expects from Bryan Adams. At least that’s true for folks like me who haven’t really followed his stuff a lot. It’s a good tune and performed well.

She Knows Me
This pop rocker has a better vocal presence than the opener did. It’s not as rocking as the first song, but the mellower motif allows for Adams’ voice to shine more than the rocker did. It’s more nuanced. I absolutely love this song.
I Can't Stop Loving You
I’ve never been a big fan of this song. That said, I love this version. The arrangement has some great elements and Adams’ voice really sells it.
Kiss and Say Goodbye
Another that’s not among my favorites in terms of the original version, this is another of my favorites here. Everything just works so well. Adams sounds great on this number.
Lay Lady Lay
Now, this one I’ve always enjoyed. I like Adams’ vocal delivery a lot and the musical arrangement works quite well. As far as I’m concerned, this is another highlight.
Rock and Roll Music
This has a real vintage rock and roll sound. It really feels like something that would have come out in the 1960s, but it’s not the exact same kind of treatment as the original. It’s fun tune, but not one of my favorites here.
Down on the Corner
The musical arrangement on this in some ways feels even more down home than the original> Adams enunciates much more clearly than John Fogerty did, though. It’s a lot easier to make out the lyrics on this one. Some of the guitar sounds are pretty modern. I don’t know which version I like better, this or the original. They are different enough that it’s almost an apples and oranges kind of comparison. Both are good for different reasons.
Never My Love
I like this mellow and quite pretty take a lot. It’s got a great guitar solo section and the vocals work quite well.
Sunny
I’m not a huge fan of the old R&B sounds ala Motown. So, I’m shocked that I like this song as much as I do. It really has that kind of Motown sound. Yet, the hooks and the whole arrangement are irresistible. I’ve never heard the original, but I might have to check it out. I love this song. It might be my favorite tune here.
The Tracks of My Tears
The arrangement and vocal delivery is solid. The hooks on parts of this are exceptional. The song just doesn’t touch me as closely as some of the rest of the pieces do. Of course, part of it is the fact that it follows such and awesome song.
God Only Knows
This sedate ballad is very pretty. It’s a little lightweight for my tastes, but the vocal performance makes it work. I’m just not sure I’d have put in the final position.

 

 
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